‘No repeat’ of sales traffic headaches

The A41 roundabout near Bicester Village.'111229M-A200
The A41 roundabout near Bicester Village.'111229M-A200

POLICE had to close the A41 near Bicester Village after record numbers of bargain-hunters arrived on Boxing Day.

An estimated 30,000 people headed to the designer outlet village for the post-Christmas sales, causing traffic headaches for local motorists.

Some shoppers who were unable to find a space in local car parks had left their cars along the A41 dual carriageway between the Esso roundabout and the Rodney House roundabout.

Some lanes were closed for up to three hours due to fears for public safety, and the entire carriageway was closed for an hour, police said.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “It was sheer weight of traffic and problems with people leaving their cars and walking to Bicester Village.

“There were concerns for public safety as some people were walking on the carriageway.”

The police spokesman said no vehicles were issued with parking tickets or towed away.

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said the council was aware of the traffic congestion on the A41 near Bicester Village on Boxing Day.

He added: “We would strongly advise motorists not to leave their vehicles in areas which aren’t designated for parking – this includes road verges, where doing so may lead to an obstruction being created for other highway users.”

The county council spokesman said some traffic congestion was inevitable on the day due to thousands of shoppers visiting Bicester Village on one of the outlet’s busiest days of the year.

Gerry Wright, who lives in Colne Close near Bicester Village, said he thought the traffic problems were getting worse.

He said: “They’re now using the estate roads to park. Some of them are parking across driveways and blocking people into their houses.”

Mr Wright said he had seen traffic blocking the box junction at the entrance to Bicester Village the day after Boxing Day.

“They’re just so arrogant. All the cars on the A41 should have been towed away and fined £250,” he added.

Bicester Village has now put cones along the A41 and the Middleton Stoney road after discussions with the county council.

A spokesman for Bicester Village said: “Boxing Day is always our busiest day, and this year was even busier. We saw a very different crowd of people coming – it was heavily tourist-dominated. They were not our usual shoppers and were not familiar with our parking arrangements.

“Once one person parks, others follow very quickly. It won’t be happening again now we’ve identified it as a problem.”