Bicester's London Road crossing was top of the agenda at a joint meeting between local County Councillors, Council leaders and North Oxfordshire MP, Victoria Prentis earlier this week.
Following the reopening of the line between Oxford, Bicester and London, barrier down times on the London Road level crossing have been causing notable delays for residents. These are expected to increase as construction begins on the East-West rail line between Bicester and Bedford. Signalling projections suggest the barrier at the crossing will be down for over 45 minutes in the hour once the line is fully operational.
Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), Cherwell District Council (CDC) and locally elected representatives have met on several occasions to consider solutions to counter the problem, including closing the road, building a tunnel under the crossing and constructing a bridge across the railway line. All options come at a considerable cost and it is important that access to the town centre remains viable. Discussions during the meeting focused on Bicester's growth, funding and support from the national Government through the Department for Transport. Local MP Victoria Prentis has been in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, and hopes to meet him again soon to share local views.
Work remains ongoing between Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council to review and cost out all options for the road. In a positive step forward, a new job role has opened up within the Councils for a member of staff to work solely on the London Road issue.
After the meeting, Victoria commented: “There is a huge amount of growth in the south of Bicester so it is critical that new residents as well as those living in Langford Village, and surrounding villages, are not cut off from the town centre. I am hopeful that a plan will be in place this year.”
Cherwell District Council Leader Councillor Barry Wood supported the North Oxfordshire MP saying: "We are all working together to get a good solution to the London Road Crossing."
Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Councillor Ian Hudspeth added: “This highlights the importance of all levels of Government; Town, District, County and national, working together to deliver this important piece of infrastructure to ensure that residents continue to be able to access all areas of the town as Bicester grows.”