Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Concern over alternative route for planned bypass

CONCERN is growing in Watlington about the possibility of another route for the town’s proposed bypass.

The “edge road” would run 
through five development sites in the town and neighbouring Pyrton.

It would go from the B4009 Pyrton crossroads north of Watlington to Britwell Road in the south, running north of the former pig farm, where 183 homes are to be built, and then cut across Cuxham Road and eventually join the B4009.

Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, has been considering a “plan B” option that would use Willow Close and the existing Cuxham Road roundabout.

Watlington Parish Council chairman Matt Reid said residents were “utterly against” this proposal and it should be ruled out as soon as possible.

Speaking at a council meeting, he said: “I can see this will turn very sour if this option B takes on any more weight.”

Addressing Councillor Steve Harrod, who represents Watlington on the county council, Councillor Reid said: “You know our views on this but we're now starting to take heat from our constituents.

“People are aware this is possibly a stitch up if this route A and B thing isn’t resolved.”

Cllr Harrod responded: “Matt, I’m fighting in your corner, so you’re preaching to the choir.”

Councillor Keith Woolfson asked why the second option hadn’t been taken off the table.

Cllr Harrod replied that it was simply because a consultation hadn’t yet been completed.

“We have to be seen to have considered all the options,” he said. “We’re not in a position to pre-empt a consultation like this but I think everyone hopes it’s going to go the same way, which is hopefully option A.”

Ian Hill, vice-chairman of the council, said improvements should be made to Pyrton Lane to make it too “unpleasant” for construction traffic to use.

He said the temptation to use the lane for construction vehicles working on the pig farm development by Archstone and Bloor Homes nearby would grow.

“It’s not really up to that sort of traffic,” he said. “I do think it needs something physical that makes it too unpleasant for heavy lorries to go down that way.”

Cllr Harrod said he would speak to highways officers.

The companies won planning permission to redevelop the land between the B4009 Britwell Road and the B480 Cuxham Road earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the council could manage the  green spaces at the development. Councillor Tim Horton told a meeting of the council’s neighbourhood plan advisory group that he would prefer the areas to be run by the council rather than management companies.

Gill Bindoff, who chairs the group, said the issue had also been raised by the Watlington Green Plan Group.

The council is to write to Bloor Homes on the issue.

Cllr Harrod said he would also ask the county council about plans to improve the town centre.

The parish council wants to “reclaim” the high street for residents and visitors.

It asked for the public’s view on introducing a temporary 20mph speed limit on the road, widening the pavements and restricting its use to residents and businesses.

• What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley or email

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