Archive for July, 2015
ReFashion returns to Witney on Sunday 1st November, from 11am – 3pm. There will be an array of stands all doing their bit to promote the reuse, repair or upcycling of fabric.
With around 8000 tonnes of textiles ending up in landfill across the county each year, West Oxfordshire District Council is working in partnership with all the Oxfordshire councils to tackle the problem of wasted material.
Last year’s consultation resulted in a decision to go ahead with that crossing – sitting midway between the newsagent and the decorating merchant – in October 2014. The report summarising the scheme cost, proposed position of that crossing, along with the pros and cons, can be found here, and the minutes from the meeting where the decision was made can be found here, including this statement concerning funding:
“Addressing comments received regarding timing of this scheme in relation to other major projects in Witney such as Shores Green and the West End Link [an officer of OCC] advised that as neither scheme had been confirmed delivery was therefore open ended. As a result the 30,000 vehicle daily flow on Bridge Street would remain suggesting a strong case for a scheme to come forward now rather than wait for major schemes to come forward. Funding for this scheme was available until 2017 and as no decision on other major infrastructure would be taken before then any delay beyond then would mean the finance would be lost. Also there was no guarantee that other major schemes would significantly reduce flows.”
Apart from the odd way this item appears to be being dealt with (the decision was never subject to a ‘call in’ – item 17 of Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules) you might be forgiven for thinking that the new proposal is in addition to the original crossing because the S106 funding put aside for this is £115k according to page 61 of the local Infrastructure Delivery Plan – we could have two zebras for the price of what was presumably put aside for a signal controlled crossing. (The priority and timescale column may need updating from ‘2014-2019′ to 2014-2017’ given the above statement on funding.)
However, the consultation letter circulated to key stakeholders and local residents makes it clear this is an either/or choice:
“This is an alternative location to the one which was consulted upon last year which provided a link between the Newsagents and Otters Court / Mill Lane. However, due to the level of response in opposition to the crossing at this location, this new location is now being considered.
To help us make a decision whether or not to proceed with this proposal, all comments would be much appreciated both for and against.”
So what are the merits of a crossing on the bridge itself at the very southwestern end of Bridge Street?
Without a similar arrangement across the Mill Street arm, which is also difficult to cross and used more often, it seems beneficial but insufficient in itself for the current and potential pedestrian activity at that location. We note that the Infrastructure Delivery Plan mentions a future ‘refuge’ to make crossing Mill Street slightly easier, however, given the County’s and the District’s fine words on encouraging walking in Witney, we would expect to see a zebra crossing there too. That would get us almost all the way to our proposal for that end of the street which we laid out in last year’s post.
With a pedestrian friendly Mill Street crossing, and as an addition to a crossing at the northeastern end of Bridge Street, how could anyone object to this proposal? Unfortunately, that is not what is being offered here – it’s either this or the proposal from last year. We understand that a zebra crossing adjacent to the mini-roundabout at the Newland/West End junction was considered but discarded in favour of last year’s proposal, so there are no other possible sites on offer for this single, pedestrian friendly crossing in Bridge Street. We also understand that there are no new grounds for objections to the original crossing proposal approved last year.
The consultation results will be considered and a decision made on this new crossing proposal on 3rd of September. If you have a view as a current or future pedestrian on the relative merits between these two crossings in Bridge Street, you have until this Friday 24th July to let the County know. We suggest you send it to the same contact address given here for last year’s consultation.
And finally, Sustainable Witney would like to say thank you to everyone at OCC involved in trying to come up with a viable solution to crossing this most contentious of streets in Witney. It’s much appreciated.