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Residents' noise fears prompt U-turn on Witney junction revamp
A £2M scheme to ease traffic congestion in Witney has been altered after residents raised concerns about its design.
People living in Colwell Drive told Oxfordshire County Council during consultation over the summer that widening the section of Ducklington Lane north of the junction with Station Lane to two lanes, as initially proposed, would mean the loss of a “buffer” between their houses and the road.
Widening the road would have meant the loss of a hedgerow which was planted to give them some protection from traffic noise.
Instead there will just be a short two-lane section close to the junction to allow traffic to merge after passing through the traffic lights.
Witney South & Central county councillor Laura Price said she was pleased the residents’ concerns had been listened to.
She said: “I kept a close eye on this consultation, as it was the first one since I was elected as a county councillor.
“I was at the consultation event at the Methodist Church and spoke to a number of people who lived in Colwell Drive, who were worried that this would mean they would lose the hedge.
“I’m really pleased their concerns have been listened to and I think the residents should feel quite positive about this.”
Another alteration the county council has made from its initial design is to keep the southern access from Beechgate to Ducklington Lane open but in future vehicles will only be able to turn south into Ducklington Lane, rather than being able to turn right and cross four lanes of traffic.
There will also be measures to improve the northern access to Beechgate, including yellow box junction markings.
Improved pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities at the junction and in Ducklington Lane, Station Lane and Thorney Leys are also on the cards, although there will be further consultation on aspects of the cycling provision.
But Ms Price said the council still had some way to go to improve the town’s transport infrastructure.
She added: “It would be good to see this bedded in before the housing developments are completed.
“I think it’s nice to see some infrastructure but we want to see more. We want to see a full Shores Green interchange happening as well.
"With the mishandling of the Cogges Link Road, people have been left feeling like they shouldn’t be putting all their eggs in one basket.
“Although this isn’t a Witney-wide scheme, it should have some impact and I am impressed with the handling of the consultation.”
West Oxfordshire District Council plans to provide 1,900 extra homes in the town by 2026 in its core strategy plan.
The Ducklington Lane and Station Lane project will be paid for using money given by developers to ease the impact of new homes.
If the revised designs are approved, the county council wants work to start in April or May next year, with work finishing next October or November.
The proposals, which are being recommended for approval, will be put to members of the council’s cabinet at 2pm on Tuesday at a meeting at County Hall in New Road, Oxford.
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