Hello! You might be unaware of who Bicester Traffic Action Group are so just to give you an overview as way of introduction.

We are a group of local residents who came together around three years ago, just after the Bicester Village ‘Black Friday 2014’ debacle that caused major gridlock throughout the town.

Myself and our other co-chairwoman Sallie Wright met with a local councillor to discuss the problems residents and local businesses had experienced through the poor planning of our discount retail friends.

Unfortunately after that meeting, we discovered that actually Bicester faced many further traffic problems and it appeared that our councils and councillors were not being proactive about addressing them.

Our committee is a diverse bunch and we’re lucky enough to count some technical experts amongst our team including town planning and traffic police specialists. If you would like to join our team, please drop us a line.

So at our core, we are an executive committee who meet up and plan our strategy and campaigns.

We are all volunteers and receive no funding from any external body. We campaign on four major topics; the likely closure of the London Road level crossing post 2019; the lack of a proper ‘ring road’; air pollution caused by the considerable traffic congestion within our home town; and finally as already mentioned Bicester Village related congestion.

Part of our agenda is to hold our various councils to account for past numerous pledges they have made and failed to keep.

So on the topic of Bicester Village traffic congestion. Since the infamous ‘Black Friday’ of 2014, we have had an ongoing dialogue with Value Retail, owners of Bicester Village and to be fair they have listened to our concerns.

Most recently we met with them to discuss the weekend problems caused by the ‘hamburger’ roundabout construction and remodelling of the ‘Acorn public house roundabout’ at their entrance.

You will be no doubt pleased to hear that, hopefully in the next few weeks all finishing touches will be completed and it should be all open and operating.

We are still sceptical about how much benefit the A41 hamburger roundabout will deliver especially as Cherwell District Council have consulted to build a road, at some point in the future, that will bypass it.

However, we do hope that it will deliver some benefits in the run up to Christmas and the sales. Value Retail has learned their lesson and has banned the phrase ‘Black Friday’ from their vocabulary, although this year it does fall during their sale week.

Luckily the appeal of ‘Black Friday’ appears to have diminished in the minds of the British public and retailers alike after mixed experiences nationwide.

On a positive note, the revamp of the old Bicester Town railway station into Bicester Village station with a dedicated entrance to the retail area has seen a massive increase in patronage.

Now around 10-12 per cent of customers arrive by rail up from around three per cent previously. Whether these are old customers switching mode of transport or simply new customers we are unaware.

In our future columns we hope to keep you informed of what else we are doing, potentially some very exciting ‘citizen activism’ news and what your councillors are not doing. In the meantime, you can keep up to date with us online bicestertag.org