On Monday 14 January, Victoria Prentis MP joined local councillors and leaders of both Councils to continue work to resolve issues with the London Road crossing in Bicester.
Following the reopening of the line between Oxford, Bicester and London, barrier down times on the London Road level crossing have been causing delays for local residents. This is expected to get worse as work begins on the East-West rail line between Bicester and Bedford. Signalling projections suggest the barrier at the crossing will be down for over 45 minutes in the hour once the line is fully operational.
Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), Cherwell District Council (CDC) and elected representatives have met on a number of occasions to consider solutions to counter the problem including closing the road, building a tunnel under the crossing and constructing a bridge across the railway line. All options come at a considerable cost and it is important that access to the town centre remains viable. Discussions during the meeting focused on growth, funding and support from national Government in the Department for Transport. Victoria has been in regular contact with the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP, and hopes to meet him again soon to share the group’s views.
Work has been ongoing between OCC and CDC to cost and plan all options for the road. A new job role has opened up within the councils for an individual to work solely on the London Road issue. As plans progress, further updates will be provided to keep residents informed.
After the meeting, Victoria commented: “There is a huge amount of growth in the south of Bicester so it is critical that new residents as well as those living in Langford Village, and surrounding villages, are not cut off from the town centre. I am hopeful that a plan will be in place this year.”
Cherwell District Council Leader Barry Wood supported Mrs Prentis saying: "We are all working together to get a good solution to the London Road Crossing."
Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Ian Hudspeth added: “This highlights the importance of all levels of Government, Town , District, County and National, working together to deliver this important piece of infrastructure to ensure Bicester continues to grow with residents being able to access all areas of the town.”