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PM praises campaign over 'dangerous' B4044 road
PRIME Minister and Witney MP David Cameron walked part of a “dangerous” stretch of road to be shown why a cycle lane and footpath is needed.
Campaigners say the section between Eynsham and Dean Court at Botley is dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists due to its 50mph speed limit, narrowness and pot holes.
They are calling on Oxfordshire County Council to bid for Government cash before an April 31 deadline to pay for two thirds of the estimated £1m cost.
Mr Cameron and Oxford West & Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood, met campaigners at the Talbot Inn, Eynsham, yesterday and walked along part of the route.
Mr Cameron said: “It’s a really worthwhile campaign.
“Obviously there are lots of hurdles to cross, questions that need to be answered and funds that have to be sought, but I commend the group for getting together and putting so much work in.”
He added: “I believe it is important to help people cycle to work, and that we create good community paths.
“They seem to have a lot of good arguments on their side, they have the support of landowners, the district council and local people and so I will do what I can to make sure they get good answers from the county council.”
Miss Blackwood said: “I think it is a great campaign, and it is particularly good because they are not just putting their hand out.
“They are saying ‘we are going to do our bit, put together a feasibility study and match funding, but also want the county and Government to support cycling in Oxfordshire’.”
The proposed path, wide enough for cyclists and pedestrians to use at the same time, will run alongside Eynsham Road from the Swinford toll bridge to Dean Court, at the A420 junction.
The campaigners cannot apply to the Government’s Cycle City Ambition Grant pot themselves and are asking County Hall to bid for about £670,000 to pay for the project.
They then hope the county council will pay for half the remaining money and have offered to match fund this amount – about £170,000.
Bike Safe chairman Ian Leggett said: “It’s dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians and mobility scooter users, because cars, buses and lorries are passing by within inches at 50mph – it would only take a slight misjudgment for a terrible accident to happen. The path will give more choice for people to travel into Oxford, and it will link isolated communities “It will be better for pedestrians, cyclists and those using mobility scooters, and it will be better for motorists because cyclists will be off the road.”
He said campaigners had written to Mr Cameron and Miss Blackwood because they had grown “frustrated” with County Hall.
County council deputy leader Rodney Rose said: “In an ideal world we would be able say something more positive, but the competing demands for investment across all our service areas, against a backdrop of on-going pressures on public finances, means we can’t take this scheme forward at present.”
He said the Government grant pot required match funding which the council did not have the money for.