Banbury 20mph decision deferred
Not having the support of Banbury Town Council concerned the County Council decision maker
A decision on the implementation of lower 20mph speed limits on most roads in Banbury has been deferred. Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Highways Management, Councillor Andrew Gant, was concerned that Banbury Town Council did not fully agree with the proposals and there wasn’t a consensus of opinion amongst other local councillors.
The scheme proposed most residential streets in the town be lowered to a 20mph limit, but included many cross-town and through-town routes as well, including Horsefair and North Bar, Hightown Road and Swan Close Road, and Castle Street and Cherwell Drive. It was the key roads that concerned Banbury Town Council.
Council Leader Kieron Mallon addressed a decision making meeting. He said: “Banbury has no ring road. All traffic has to go through the centre of the town… Its built on a ‘hub and spoke’ system with a road network that centres onto Banbury Cross.
“If this is approved, as it is, today it will lead to massive traffic congestion and poorer air quality.”
Councillor Mallon noted the scale of objections to the proposal and asked for the decision to be deferred to allow time to try to find a scheme suitable for Banbury.
Subsequently another town Councillor, Sian Tohill-Martin, spoke in favour of the proposal.
Paul Bonsor from Banbury Active Travel group also urged Councillor Gant to approve the plans – and to go even further. He said: “This town has seen over 300 traffic accidents in the last five years, fifty-seven of those classed as serious and thirty-six of these accidents involved children.
“There’s no shortage of verifiable evidence that slower speeds reduce the number and severity of accidents… It will also encourage more people to cycle and walk in Banbury, reduce air pollution and noise, improve people’s health and the overall quality of life for residents.”
He added: “We urge you to go forward with the changes proposed, but also to promptly bring forward plans to make the arterial roads along which many people, live, work, walk and cycle also 2-mph.”
A report by council officers noted 653 responses to a consultation with 427 of them objections, 78 expressions of concern and 148 in favour.
Summing up his concerns ahead of making a decision Councillor Grant said: “It is a key part of this policy that it proceeds with the active support … of local members and the town council. We don’t have that and that’s a concern.”
Councillor Gant therefore agreed with Councillor Mallon’s suggestion that a decision be deferred so council officers could address the points made by elected members and within the consultation. He also urged those representing the town to reach a consensus of opinion, saying: “I do think it is incumbent on you as the representatives of Banbury to work out what you want.”
Later in the same meeting a new 20mph limit was agreed on Blacklocks Hill in Nethercote.
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam