Reaction to deferral of 20mph limits across Banbury


The decision to consult further is broadly welcomed

People have been reacting to the news that a decision on the implementation of a controversial lower 20mph speed limit on most roads in Banbury has been deferred. 

Yesterday Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Highways Management, Councillor Andrew Gant (Liberal), expressed his concerns that Banbury Town Council did not fully agree with the proposals and there wasn’t a consensus of opinion amongst other local councillors.

Banbury Town Council Leader Kieron Mallon (Conservative) had addressed the meeting and asked for the decision to be deferred so time could be spent on finding a solution which worked for Banbury.

After the decision to defer was made Councillor Mallon told Banbury FM: “The County Council consulted on a 20mph scheme for Banbury which received overwhelming opposition from local residents and businesses.  None of these objections were taken into account as the proposed scheme was exactly the same as the one put out for consultation.

“The scheme was, in the words of the County Council, ‘to encourage walking and cycling in Banbury’.   80% of respondents, including most who supported the scheme, said they would not change and continue to use the car if this scheme was passed, so it failed in that major Policy as well.

“I pointed out that Banbury is not Oxford and that any major transport scheme needs to be bespoke to Banbury and not an off the shelf Oxford one.   We deserve a better scheme to reflect our unique position where three counties meet with a huge rural hinterland – we do not have the infrastructure of Oxford.

“I want to see a transport scheme that would enable all modes of transport, busses, cars, walking and cycling, to be safe and improve, not add to congestion in our town.”

Banbury’s MP, Victoria Prentis (Conservative), was pleased with the result.  She said: “I welcome Councillor Gant’s decision this afternoon to defer the 20 mph proposals for Banbury. I am pleased that he has listened to the concerns raised by residents and the Town Council about the plans in their current form.

“The County Council’s officers have been told to work with the Town Council and take another look at the proposals. I hope that meaningful engagement will now follow to address the areas of concerns which have been identified, and produce a scheme which meets the needs of our town.”

Sean Woodcock (Labour) will be standing against Mrs Prentis at the next General Election and is the leader of the Labour Group at Cherwell District Council.   He felt the move to defer a decision was sensible, but attacked comments Mrs Prentis had made in relation to the proposals going against the latest guidance from the Department for Transport and government spending on roads.

Councillor Woodcock said: “We have seen during the local elections last year and in public pronouncements since, that the Conservatives see peddling Trumpian nonsense about a war on motorists as to their electoral advantage.   So we should see Victoria Prentis’s comments as the latest in a long line of these and not in good faith.

“If she is that concerned about gridlock on our roads, perhaps she should be challenging her own government on their failure to improve our growing town’s creaking infrastructure. On Bridge Street, for example, you would struggle to move more than 20mph now regardless of the actual speed limit.

“I know from talking to some local members, reducing the speed limit on some roads will help avoid serious incidents.

“The priority should always be public health and safety. So as long as the county council has taken that approach above anything else, then it’s something I can live with.

“A deferral in order to get agreement and sensible compromise from stakeholders is a sensible decision.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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