£12.5m for “Access to Headington”

When it comes to local transport in Headington, Oxfordshire County Council never fails to surprise us. Two years ago the Headington Transport Strategy emerged from nowhere, produced a report, then disappeared into the Russian doll hierarchy of the Oxford Transport Strategy which in turn is part of the “Connecting Oxfordshire” strategic transport plan, or LTP4 as it is known. This search of my blog will give you the story of the original Headington Transport Strategy and several local responses to the consultation.

More recently many organisations have commented on the wider LTP4, including some local to Headington – Headington Action and the local LibDem Councillors have both made their comments available to the public. You can find their views and those of a dozen or so others via links on the Oxford Futures website.

And now, before they have considered the responses to LTP4, or seen the Officers’ summary of responses, or given Councillors the chance to discuss a revised version of the consultation report, the County Council announce they have secured £12.5m for transport improvements under the headline of “Access to Headington”. Local Councillors have not seen how the Council is proposing to spend this money — they have a briefing on Thursday evening. The public must wait until the following day to see the plans — a series of open presentations has been announced starting this Friday.

  • Friday 3 July, St Anthony of Padua Church, Headley Way, 1pm-8pm;
  • Saturday 4 July, New Marston Primary School, Copse Lane, 10am to 4pm;
  • Thursday, July 9, Wood Farm School, Titup Hall Drive, 1pm to 8pm;
  • Saturday 11 July, St Andrew’s Primary School, London Road, 10am to 4pm.

The Oxford Mail quotes the County’s cabinet member for the Environment (which include transport matters) David Nimmo-Smith as saying “The funding will help us to make better use of an already busy road network in coming years with the emphasis on public transport, cycling and walking.”

The project area includes the B4495 from Cherwell Drive/Marsh Lane to Horspath Driftway and the Eastern Bypass, as well as Old Road. Proposed changes include:

  • Junction improvements
  • New cycle lanes and crossings
  • New pedestrian crossings
  • Changes to on-street parking
  • New bus lanes
  • Localised road widening to accommodate the above bus and cycle improvements

The implementation of changes is planned for summer 2016 to spring 2018.

The changes are intended to

  • Manage growth in car traffic – planning for more walking, cycling and use of public transport
  • Support jobs growth in health, innovation and education by improving access to major sites such as hospitals and universities
  • Improving access to the major employment sites by sustainable modes
  • Promote health and wellbeing by reducing transport’s environmental impact

The area involved as described above is, as some will recall, part of both a Rapid Transit Bus Route and a Super Cycle Route put forward in LTP4.

It’s not possible to comment further without having seen the latest proposals. We can only hope that local input to LTP4 has been heard and taken into account in this latest genie-out-of-the-bottle scheme from the County.