UPDATED: Developers defend road plans after 500-strong petition to complete ring road

Artist's impression of Exemplar eco town in Bicester
Artist's impression of Exemplar eco town in Bicester

A petition to complete the building of a ring road to deal with rapid town development has gathered more than 500 signatures.

Bicester and District Labour Party is urging Oxfordshire County Council to honour its original plans to widen Howes Lane, in Bicester, and complete the ring road.

From left: Sean Woodcock, Sylvia Howells and Chris Howells

From left: Sean Woodcock, Sylvia Howells and Chris Howells

It collected signatures at Bicester Market on Saturday, attracting 200 signatures by lunchtime and a further 330 online.

But updated county council proposals are to move Howes Lane and create a 30mph boulevard through the new Eco Town.

The party is concerned extra traffic from the eco town and business park will use Banbury and Buckingham Road as well as Bucknell Road, Shakespeare Drive and Middleton Road as the quickest way to Bicester Village and the M40.

Banbury Labour’s parliamentary candidate Sean Woodcock said: “This petition and campaign is important to ensure that the people of Bicester do not suffer from rapid development without the necessary improvements to infrastructure in place.

“Bicester is on its way to becoming the second largest town in the county and is set to become one of the fastest growing parts of the South-East, yet it has the infrastructure of a quiet market town.”

A2Dominion, which is behind the eco town as part of NW Bicester, has defended the revised plans for Howes Lane.

Developers are due to submit a detailed application to Cherwell District Council in the coming weeks.

Its project manager Steve Hornblow said: “We understand the concern that locals have regarding Howes Lane but want to reassure them that the new link road will, once complete, be the much needed strategic link road for Bicester.

“It will create an easier and more convenient road layout removing the current and well documented ‘pinch point’ that is the current Howes/Lords Lane junction.

“The emerging Local Plan has always shown a need to improve the Howes Lane/Lords Lane junction and this provides a convenient strategic road but at the same time allows connection to the existing town.”

Bicester resident Chris Howells said: “Widening Howes Lane as originally proposed and keeping a 50 mph limit would give a quick route for traffic from outside the town around Bicester.

“It would distribute eco town traffic to and from the south, remove traffic in and out of the business park and from the town’s roads, and reduce congestion in the centre of Bicester.

“And it would be safer for eco town residents themselves, especially children given the location of the new schools.”