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Road change worries

Many of your readers will have been following the campaign that we, at StARC, Stratton against Road Changes, have mounted against the council in order to try to ensure that residents of Stratton do not suffer inordinately from the road-building programme ordered by it in preparation for the NEV development. We focussed recently on the plan to partially dual Oxford Road, and as we are vehemently opposed to it, we sought support from local people likely to be adversely affected and obtained 364 signatures to secure a brief audience in the council chamber. Indeed, only one person we spoke to declined to sign the petition, and his reason was that “they will just do it anyway.” Sadly, as we found out last week, he was right.

At an open forum recently in the council chamber we were able to put our objections directly to the cabinet committee members responsible. I asked why the council was choosing to route additional traffic down a residential road towards Greenbridge roundabout when there is an alternative route along two roads where there are no houses. Councillor Gary Sumner responded, and I believe I am accurately representing his reply, that drivers would find it confusing if they had to make a detour to get to Greenbridge along Covingham Drive and Dorcan Way rather than drive directly down Oxford Road. Interestingly, the signage at Merlin Way directing vehicles to Dorcan Industrial Estate seems to show that it is acceptable to direct goods vehicles down the rather circuitous route via Oxford Road!

The plan outlines a reduction in waiting times for vehicles wanting to turn into Nythe Road. It doesn’t say whether from east or west. If the latter then the lights at the junction will have to change more frequently. If it is from the east, then the inside lane will have to be Nythe Road only, or both lanes will be used thereby negating any improvement in time taken to turn into Nythe Road.

The plans show that it is the outside lane which will merge into the inside lane that is not merging for fear of being blocked in. How will this help the flow of traffic? We sincerely hope that those people who might gain a few seconds will thank the resident of Oxford Road whoo will have suffered the misery, noise, disruption and pollution of months of road works for the precious gain.

Councillor Sumner referred to the queues on Oxford Road, stating that he had queued at two o’clock in the afternoon. He must have chosen a bad day.

As two other questioners, both residents of Oxford Road remarked, there are very rarely queues on the road. Traffic regularly clears the lights, even during the rush hour, and the biggest cause of congestion are the bus and refuse collection lorries. If there were more queues we would not find it so difficult to get out of our drives, as we now have to wait for the traffic lights to change.

Regrettably, there is only one way to consider the council’s decision, and that is that it is a politically expedient one. Why else would it borrow at least 1.7 million pounds for this project whose benefits, if they should even accrue, will be paltry, an not share out the burden of extra traffic by upgrading other routes?

The plans show that some trees will be planted and also wild flowers. We residents of the roads concerned, Oxford and its side roads, are suitably gratified. When this disruptive and pointless work is being done, we will be able to console ourselves with the additional flora and fauna we will see as the HGVs pass by ten metres closer to our house than before.

This is a long letter, and I will be extremely grateful if it is published in full. It represents the despair felt by all of us who live on Oxford Road and its side roads who will have to suffer the turmoil caused by the road works.

Ronald Fox, Secretary StARC

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