Oxfordshire County Council have agreed to extend the consultation to 12th August. However, at the time of writing they have not publicised this extension, nor have they improved the consultation
information available online to highlight the loss of the poplars and other trees that grace the approach to Kidlington.
It seems the County knows this going to be very "un-Poplar" - so lets make our feelings about the fellings very clear.
Our analysis lists many other reasons for serious concern and lead us to argue that the plans need to be improved in order to meet their objectives
Our group is now quite experienced at reviewing planning proposals. This is perhaps the most unclear and difficult to interpret we've seen. We think that the consultation summary of the expected benefits is unlikely to be realised in practice.
- The main purpose is to speed up & improve access for buses.
- The plans involve cutting down 9 trees, including the 3 very tall poplars and will turn this lovely green approach into a forest of traffic lights.
- This is still Green Belt but the consultation material fails to mention this or the loss of biodiversity that will result if the trees are felled
- The plans don't seem to explain why signals are required (but read on)
- Safety measures for pedestrians and cyclists seem focused on making them wait at traffic lights before crossing.
- We couldn't find anything specific on traffic light phasing but it seems cars & buses will take priority.
- Local cycling and walking groups say that the proposals are not active travel friendly since they don't encourage cycling or walking (though they may make traversing the roundabout a bit safer).
- There will be 3 lanes on the roundabout coming down to two on all exits except Frieze way.
- Cars are given almost all (~90%) of the road space.
- Cyclists will be expected to use the pedestrian routes & crossings rather than go round the inner lane (so those who exercise their right to cycle on the road are not supported).
- Cyclists and pedestrians don’t have separate, segregated paths
- The shared cyclist and pedestrian routes include several right angle bends that likely increase the risk of accidents / near misses between them.
- It should be possible to come up with a plan that lets ALL sustainable travel (buses, cyclists & walkers) get through the junction easily.
- The plans mark at least 9 trees for removal and several others for 'mitigation' but don't explain why felling is necessary or what mitigation is proposed.
- The 'mitigation' may involve heavy pruning which could damage the trees long term.
- There will be a 30 mph speed limit at the roundabout but why not reduce it further and include traffic calming measures to encourage cars to slow down?
- Why not impose the lower speed limit up to Cutteslowe?
- Why not be more radical and create a bike and bus priority roundabout?
- The proposals are very car centric & we accept most people still travel by car. Yet the County transport plan is supposed to prioritise ACTIVE TRAVEL & this proposal falls far short. It is not likely to persuade many car drivers or bus users to get on their bike or walk. As such it is not compliant with the County's adopted Local Transport and Connectivity Plan 5.
How to respond:
Send your comments no later than the 12th August. Please complete the survey at: https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/kidlingtonroundabout_improvements2022
or e-mail the project officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
saying that you object to the proposal and to the lack of notification of the impact on the trees, both those to be felled and those to be ‘mitigated’ (whatever that means).
Further details, including a plan of the changes, can be found at: https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/roads-and-transport/roadworks/future-transport-projects/north-oxford-corridor-improvements/a4260a4165-kidlington-roundab
What if I have already responded?
We understand the consultation website will only allow you to respond once via the ‘Let’s Talk Oxfordshire’ link. BUT you can still submit additional comments to the project officer at:
Christian may be away but will still accept any comments sent by the deadline.