Drivers are furious at plans to transform a key roundabout into a crossroad with traffic lights.

Oxfordshire County Council started investigative work to establish ground conditions on Banbury Road roundabout, Bicester, on January 16 this year.

Works to convert the roundabout – which are being funded by a £5.5 million budget given by The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - are due to play out over the course of the year in various stages.

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The Banbury Road roundabout forms a critical part of the Bicester ring road, and Oxfordshire County Council identified the site for improvement in its local transport plan.

The planned work will convert the existing roundabout into a crossroad with traffic lights, increase capacity for vehicles and reduce delays, helping to address congestion at the junction, whilst maintaining access for drivers making a right turn from Fringford Road.

It will also incorporate a reduced speed limit of 30mph, and improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians, with segregated cycleways and crossing at the western and southern arms of the redesigned junction.

However, some members of the public have concerns over whether the improvements are necessary.

One householder in Bicester, Andrew Philip Mansbridge said: “I’m livid about this. I use that roundabout every single day, it’s never had more than a 10 second wait.”

Another Bicester homeowner, Lara Foord added: “The roundabout is never a problem, even in rush hour.

“A bit slow maybe, but it flows well.”

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said the planned improvements aim to encourage people to walk or cycle and use public transport, reduce congestion and carbon emissions from vehicles and futureproof the junction as new homes and jobs come to the town.

But some cycling advocates argue the plans are flawed.

Bicester Advertiser:

George Bennett, chairman of Bicester Bike Users’ Group, said: “This new junction was a compromise between high traffic capacity and user-friendly crossings for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Users and councillors invested a lot of time in addressing shortcomings to arrive at the design that was approved.

“However, after months of asking for updates, we have recently found that the officers have unilaterally removed much of the provision that made the design safe and attractive for non-vehicle users.

“This is a retrograde move that will discourage people from walking and cycling and instead force people into their cars, ironically increasing traffic, delay to buses, and pollution, and simultaneously undermining public health.

Bicester Advertiser:

“Despite these serious concerns, the officers are moving ahead with their flawed design, and refusing to engage with stakeholders’ concerns.”

Cherwell District Council have been approached for comment.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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