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Two-way road fight goes on
A DIDCOT county councillor is vowing to fight a report which has dashed hopes of improving access to the town’s largest estate.
Motorists can drive out of the 3,500-home Ladygrove estate using the Cow Lane tunnel under the railway line, but have to drive all around the A4130 ring road when they want to get back.
In 2010, a trial was proposed to test two-way traffic through Cow Lane tunnel leading from Station Road next to Didcot Parkway to the Ladygrove estate.
But the £25,000 experiment, backed by Bill Service, county councillor for Didcot Ladygrove, was not supported by the Labour-run town council and the test did not go ahead.
Now, a report by consultants AECOM, on the future of Didcot and the surrounding area, says making the tunnel two-way should not go ahead, and urges residents instead to rely on “more sustainable travel” including buses.
The 115-page report was based on public consultation in February about how the area should be developed as a result of Harwell Oxford science park and Milton Park business park being named as part of the Science Vale Enterprise Zone.
The report has not yet been made public and the Oxford Mail/ obtained a copy using the Freedom of Information Act.
Mr Service said: “There are about 7,000 people living on the Ladygrove estate and it doesn’t make sense in the 21st century that they have to take a detour to get home after a night out.
“If I go to the Conservative club in Foxhall Road it costs me £7 to get a taxi home at night.
“It’s all very well for this report to recommend that people on the estate use more sustainable forms of transport but only minibuses – 17-seaters – can get through the tunnel.
“I have been campaigning for Cow Lane tunnel to be made two-way for years and I will continue to keep banging on about it.
“At the moment the county council won’t consider it.”
The AECOM report says: “It is considered that opening up this link to two-way car traffic is likely to have the effect of encouraging greater car use for local trips between Ladygrove, North East Didcot and the town centre, rather than encourage more sustainable travel.
“Any potential options for this part of the transport network may need to focus on priority measures for buses, and improving the tunnel for pedestrians and cyclists, to encourage more short trips into the town centre.”Traffic was two-way until 2003.