Agenda item

Oxford: Gosford & Yarnton A44 - Proposed 40mph Speed Limit and Bus Lane

Report by Corporate Director, Environment and Place


The Cabinet Member for the Highway Management is RECOMMENDED to approve the proposed 40mph speed limit on the A44 Woodstock Road and the introduction of a bus lane.




The Cabinet Member for Highway Management, Councillor Gant, considered a report by the Corporate Director, Environment and Place, which recommended approval of the proposed 40mph speed limit on the A44 Woodstock Road and the introduction of a bus lane.

In response to a request by Councillor Gant for clarification on Paragraphs 11 to 13 of the report, under the heading “Consultation”, officers reported on the results of a further consultation referred to in Paragraph 13 of the report.

Councillor Gant noted there were two issues to be considered: the scheme, and the consultation process, and asked that officers provide clarification on the following points –

(a)  Access to the Sheehan Haulage and Plant Hire site at the King’s Railway Bridge embankment (Paragraph 23 of the report); and

(b)  The proposal that there be a bus gate at the Canal Bridge but not at the King’s Railway Bridge.

In response, officers provided the following information –

(a)  The proposals for the bus lane and access to the Sheehan Haulage and Plant Hire site reflected standard practice for bus lanes with a break in the bus lane for side road entry to allow vehicles to enter and exit the junction without contravening traffic regulations in relation to the bus lane, with vehicles turning in and out of the side road having to give way to buses.

(b)  It was proposed that there would be a bus gate at the Canal Bridge for the reasons set out in Paragraph 20 of the report, that is, the width of the road did not permit a continuation of the bus lane without compromising cycle and pedestrian provision.

(c)   There was no requirement for a bus gate at the King’s Railway Bridge as the general traffic lanes could be reduced for a short distance without raising safety concerns as set out in Paragraph 26 of the report.

Referring to Chernwell District Council’s Local Plan and Rapid Transit provisions, it was noted that Oxfordshire County Council’s 2015 Local Transport Plan, Connecting Oxfordshire, had given priority to buses, and modelling had shown that the current proposals would reduce bus journey times.

In considering the proposals, Councillor Gant made the following observations.

Regarding the scheme itself, he noted that –

(a)  The proposed reduction in speed limits was sensible and in accordance with Council policy, noting that, sometimes, a reduction in speed limits improved the overall flow of traffic.

(b)  Having a bus lane on one side of the road but not the other was a compromise that was necessitated by what was available without embarking on expensive engineering schemes involving compulsory purchase orders.

(c)   Persons coming into Oxford by bus would, travel out of Oxford by bus and that was to be encouraged.

(d)  It was not the case that bus gates would inevitably lead to tailbacks of traffic as evidenced by existing bus gates. However, the position would have to be monitored.

(e)  The use of bus gates reflected the hierarchy of road users as set out in Council’s Local Transport Plan, that is, active travel; public transport; and then cars. When all three reached a pinch point, buses and bicycles would proceed first, followed by cars.

(f)    In relation to surrounding infrastructure, there were proposals to address issues at other roundabouts and pinch points.

Regarding the consultation process, Councillor Gant commented that –

(a)  The consultation had not been carried out in the way it should have been done. Specifically, he referred to Paragraph 12 of the report setting out details of the proposals in the first and second consultations, which were not clear; and the inappropriate timing of the third consultation.

(b)  He noted the requests by Divisional Councillors to request that officers review the proposals and redo the consultation exercise. However, he stated that there had to be an element of pragmatism in decision-making and that to delay the scheme would jeopardise funding for the scheme.

(c)   He agreed with the Councillor Middleton’s proposal that a briefing for local stakeholders be arranged before the scheme went ahead. Therefore, he was going to add that as a recommendation.


DECISION: To approve –

1.     The report’s recommendations as per the Plan set out in Annex 2 of the report; and

2.     Subject to officers arranging a briefing meeting for all stakeholders prior to work commencing on the scheme.



Signed: ………………………………………………………………………….





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