It’s great to report that the long campaign against the weight restriction on the A361 through Burford has ended with a decision from Oxfordshire County Council’s (OCC) Cabinet that the experimental traffic regulation order is revoked and will not become permanent. OCC have announced that they will develop regional solutions across the county as a better way to manage HGV movements. This is great news for Crawley and all the other towns and villages in the Windrush Valley who have been suffering the effects of diverted HGVs finding alternative routes to complete their deliveries, often on very unsuitable narrow roads.
Burford Town Council (BTC) and several supporting County Councillors resisted this decision all the way down the line. The Burford scheme was carried out as an 18-month experiment. There was a very strong lobby from communities and businesses in the region that the restriction in Burford was damaging to them. BTC did everything they could to belittle and undermine any submissions that were made in opposition to their scheme. However, the evidence against them was convincing and, as the experiment came towards the end, Cllr Duncan Enright made the decision on 5th January 2022 to revoke the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO). Many decisions with OCC are delegated to a single Cabinet member and this was how the Burford scheme was managed from the start. It is unusual for such decisions to be challenged, but there is a procedure for Cabinet member decisions to be “called-in” and 14 County Councillors duly exercised this option. The matter then went to Scrutiny Committee who met on 2nd February and decided that they would escalate the final decision to OCC Cabinet. The next Cabinet meeting was on 15th February, and at this meeting there was unanimous support for Cllr Enright’s decision to revoke the ETRO and move on to develop better regional solutions. Finally we have the outcome that we wanted.
Thank you to all of you who supported the WiVTAG campaign by writing letters and emails and supporting actions to make our voices heard. It shows that working together has been very effective and has probably achieved more than if we had acted as individual Parish Councils and residents.