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New eco-town route is ‘nightmare in waiting’
A NEW road could be built to link Bicester’s new 5,000-home eco-town with the town centre, prompting concern from residents about heavy traffic.
The latest plans have revealed that the new route could be built to replace Howes Lane.
The proposal is part of a road scheme put forward to cater for the eco town north West Bicester.
Under a “preferred option”, developer A2 Dominion wants to build a new Howes Lane opposite the current one.
A new junction could be created at Bucknell Road and Lords Lane.
Lords Lane could become the main route to the northern half of the eco town with new entrance/exits built.
It is not clear what would happen to the junction at Bucknell Road and the railway bridge.
But concerns have been raised that the new road could create a “ring road” in the northern area of Bicester attracting more traffic and lorries near people’s homes.
The proposals were discussed at a transport and roads workshop, held by eco town developer A2 Dominion last week.
Feedback from the sessions will be used for work on a masterplan for the entire eco town site.
Planning permission for the first homes to built on the site has been granted by Cherwell District Council.
But A2 Dominion has not yet started work on the initial 393 eco homes, and said it was “too early to give exact outcomes for individual roads”.
But town, district and county councillor Les Sibley is concerned a new Howes Lane could create problems.
He said: “I do have concerns about what the new road could bring. The road is going to be the main through road linking with Vendee Drive and the M40.
“You have already got an exiting problem with the volume of traffic there.
“On top of that you will get cars from 5,000 extra homes on the north west Bicester site, plus Kingsmere, and that’s going to put a lot of traffic on those roads, including HGVs.
“That traffic will use Southwold Lane, Lords Lane, the new Howes Lane and Vendee Drive.
“It’s a nightmare waiting to happen for residents wherever they are along that stretch.”
John Broad, the Bicester representative for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “One thing worrying people at the workshop was this becoming a new ring road.”
He says people should have access to the full eco town masterplan instead of seeing it “piecemeal” so a “proper discussion” can take place.
A spokesman for A2 Dominion said: “It’s too early to give exact outcomes for individual roads, but the purpose of the technical sessions is to listen to concerns and factor them into the process.
“In terms of the masterplan workshops, these aim to test the principles of the masterplan and consider technical options with stakeholders.
“The sessions have been designed to obtain important early stakeholder feedback so that the consultants working on the infrastructure can use this feedback to refine their work on the masterplan.”