John Howson writes: Potholes are once again big news. After a winter where roads have suffered more than last year, drivers are fed up with the state of the county’s roads and the damage it is causing to their vehicles.

At the county council budget meeting on the February 13, Liberal Democrat councillors will once again try to persuade both Conservative and Labour Councillors to invest heavily in upgrading our roads through prudential borrowing. Last year, our suggestion was voted down, but the problem is even more acute this year.

More generally in terms of transport links, Bicester is in a fortunate position of being at the junction of two key routes. One from London to the midlands, and the other route from the south coast to the east of England.

This fact accounts for the presence of two railway stations in the town; now both thriving after decades of neglect, when rail travel was out of fashion.

The current desire to create an East-West rail route from Didcot to Milton Keynes, Bedford and possibly even Cambridge and then onward to the port of Felixstowe brings with it the certainty of a growing number of both passenger and freight trains passing through Bicester.

However, any improvements to the railway line north of Bicester Village still currently leaves the problem of the London Road level crossing unsolved. Will the cost of providing an alternative prove too expensive, meaning Bicester residents will have no option but to queue for ever longer periods as more trains pass over the crossing?

The auguries don’t look good, at least in the near future. If Network Rail cannot find the money to bring electrification to Oxford and are prepared to see the line to Cambridge operated by diesel hauled trains, then why will they find the cash for removing the level crossing? After all, they can point to busy level crossings next to stations at Wokingham and other stations on the line between Reading and London Waterloo that have existed for many years despite the inconvenience they cause local residents.

Bicester is also a key node in the road system. The government’s National Infrastructure Commission has been evaluating the need for an ‘expressway’ between Oxford and Cambridge. Chaired until his recent resignation by Labour Peer, Lord Adonis, the Commission’s various initial studies of the western end of the route, stretching from the A34 to Milton Keynes, face the problem of whether to pass north or south of Oxford. Should the northern route become favoured, then Bicester will certainly feel the effects of this new road. You can see the options at

In any discussions about transport the needs of both cyclists and pedestrians must not be overlooked. It seems likely that cycling will grow in popularity and plans for such growth need to be considered. Schemes cost a fraction of either new roads or railways but can have a positive effect, not to mention the health benefits.