AFTER several fatalities at a roundabout in Bicester, plans to build a new one in the town have been put on hold as councillors want to make sure the junction is as safe as possible.

Three people have died in car crashes at the Vendee Drive roundabout in Bicester on the A41 Oxford Road in 13 months.

Described as a ‘death trap’ by county Councillor Ian Corkin, it has been criticised for its poor design.

Now a new roundabout is to be built in the south of the town at the Pioneer Road T-junction on the A41 Aylesbury Road.

ALSO READ: Vendee Drive roundabout on A41, Bicester, 'must get traffic lights' after fatal accidents

It would have four arms in total; the eastern and western arms of the A41; the northern arm to serve the future development at Wretchwick Green; and the southern arm to provide access to the Graven Hill development.

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But despite planning officers recommending councillors to approve the proposal at a planning committee meeting on Thursday, councillors agreed to defer their decision.

They were concerned about the 50mph speed limit that Oxfordshire County Council Highways had approved on one of the approaches to the roundabout.

Councillor Nick Cotter said at the meeting: “We have a horrendous problem with the roundabouts in Bicester now. They’re an absolute shambles in that the street furniture is mangled and smashed to bits on virtually every roundabout in this locality of Bicester. These roundabouts are frankly an absolute eyesore in the town - they’re an absolute disgrace.

ALSO READ: Car crash fears at Rodney House Roundabout in Bicester

“People are injured, people have been tragically killed on the Vendee roundabout. I have been approached by very concerned residents in Graven Hill, which is my patch, very concerned and rightly concerned about the proposed speed limit as I understand it between the Rodney House and Pioneer roundabout.

“If this proposal is voted through with a 50mph limit there will be at the very least, casualties, and at the very worst, fatalities.”

The 50mph speed limit is proposed on the approach to the new roundabout on the A41 just shortly after the Rodney House roundabout.

Councillor Lynn Pratt also did not feel it would be safe to have a high speed limit on such a short stretch of road.

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She said: “Rodney House roundabout has been a nightmare since the day it was put in. There is not a big gap between that roundabout and this new one and to see 50mph between the two would just be ridiculous. There are warehouses along that road now where lorries and wagons are pulling in and out.

"The speed limit definitely needs a review before this roundabout is put in.”

ALSO READ: Bicester road safety fears after traffic accidents

The 50mph speed limit is in the planning stages of being reviewed by the county council highways team.

Councillor Barry Richards said: “I can’t ignore warnings about traffic accidents and possible injuries and fatalities so that people can get to and from work that little bit quicker. We are here to look after the public not to put profit first.”

Paul Troop, from Bicester Bike Users Group, spoke at the meeting and said there would be twice as many collisions with a speed limit of 50mph than 30mph and that it would be dangerous for pedestrians to cross.

He added: “It cannot be safe to rely on Highways’ conclusion that this should be a high-speed roundabout. It’s a huge piece of new infrastructure with massive cost and a significant affect on the community, so it’s important to get it right.”

The design of the roundabout will come with safety railings, traffic signals and signage and in order for it to be visible from all approaches, around 50 trees would have to be removed.

Councillor Les Sibley has called for the trees to not only be replaced but additional trees to be planted too.