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Diplomacy has to be shown if road scheme is to go ahead
9:00am Wednesday 19th March 2014 in News
COUNTY council bosses have agreed a series of major transport strategies for different parts of Oxfordshire which are designed to boost the local economy by clearing congestion on busy routes.
Some schemes, such as improvements to the Milton and Chilton interchanges on the A34, should be able to move forward without delay. But others will inevitably get snarled up in red tape. A case in point could be the proposal to create new slip roads on the A40 at Shores Green near Witney.
County council leaders have backed the scheme, among others, in the updated transport plan for the town. But after losing a bitter battle in 2012 to get the Cogges Link Road built, the council has been forced to seek an alternative to free up congestion on the A40 between Witney and Oxford.
The Department for Transport refused to approve compulsory purchase orders which would have allowed the Cogges Link Road to go ahead, so the council should not rely on a similar method for ensuring that the Shores Green scheme is completed.
Landowner James Mawle, a determined opponent of the Cogges Link Road, has not yet made it clear if he is prepared to support the Shores Green scheme, so it is not realistic to think that work at Shores Green is going to get under way any time soon.
Witney is growing fast as a town and the Shores Green scheme is a necessary measure for cutting congestion, but careful diplomacy will now be needed on the part of council leaders and highways officers to ensure that the work eventually goes ahead.
If it takes too long for Shores Green to get the green light, council leaders will have to come up with an alternative for Witney residents who have waited long enough for improvements.
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