WiVTAG Update August 2021

Ongoing approval of the current 7.5t weight limit through the centre of Burford was reviewed by Oxfordshire County Council at a Cabinet Member Decision Meeting on 29th July 2021. This review considered a report on the first six months of the Burford scheme and took the decision to allow the current experimental traffic regulation order to continue for the full trial period of 18 months. This period ends in February 2022 when a final decision will be made on whether to abandon the Burford scheme or to make it permanent.

WiVTAG were able to make a brief presentation to the Cabinet Meeting to express our objection to the scheme but there was no opportunity for any discussion. Statements were also made by Burford Town Council in support and by several County Councillors (both for and against continuing with the weight restriction).

WiVTAG’s position remains unchanged. We object to Burford’s selfish strategy that takes HGVs out of their community without any care for the impact that this will have in neighbouring communities and businesses. We will continue with our campaign on behalf of the parish councils who have given us their support (including Crawley PC) and we hope that when the final decision is made we can be successful in reverting to the previous arrangement that allowed HGVs to use the A361 through Burford and over the Windrush river bridge in the town. The alternative is that places like Witney, Crawley, Hailey, Minster Lovell and Swinbrook will see continuing increased use of the small roads through our villages and towns as diversion routes for heavy HGVs that would otherwise have driven through Burford.

Support for WiVTAG’s campaign will always be welcomed. Please contact Mark McCappin if you would like to know more. (mark.mccappin@crawleyvillage.org.uk)

WiVTAG Update July 2021

The Windrush Valley Traffic Action Group (WiVTAG) has completed and submitted its Appeal Document to OCC in their campaign to object to the current experimental 7.5t weight limit through the centre of Burford. It’s a lengthy document (54 pages!) made up of an appeal summary supported by data, evidence, market research and analysis in a series of appendices that make up most of the document. I don’t expect too many people will wade through all the appendices but I would recommend you to read the first 10 pages that provide the overall summary of our appeal. We believe we have a strong case and we hope to get some action from it. A copy of the full document is attached (see below).

There is a danger that Councillors will ‘kick the can down the road’ and postpone any decision to the end of the 18 moth period. But, if the objections are plentiful and strong, there is a chance that the scheme could be halted this summer. You could help by writing your own objection letter. Please see more about this in the announcement about actions being taken by Crawley PC.

Responses from Crawley to OCC to object to the Burford Weight restriction

Are you bothered by

  • the increasing number of HGVs coming through Crawley,
  • the damage that this is doing to our little roads, and
  • the danger that these big vehicles create to residents in the village?

The reason that they’re coming is because they have been diverted from their normal route through the centre of Burford. Crawley is one of the few alternative routes that they can find to get over the river Windrush. Why should we in Crawley have to suffer the consequences of Burford’s self-protectionist ban on HGVs using the A361 in Burford? Burford don’t seem to be bothered where these big vehicles go – providing it’s not affecting them.

The Burford scheme is an ‘Experimental Traffic Regulation Order’ that will run for 18 months (August 2020 to February 2022). The County Council will review the performance twice during this time. Their first review will be at the OCC Cabinet Meeting on 29 July 2021. They could decide to stop it now but this will only happen if they get a very strong response from affected communities to demand the scheme is brought to a halt. The number of letters that are received by OCC really matters. We have been told by our County Councillor, Liam Walker, that ten letters will be given much more importance that one letter with ten signatures. You can help. Please write a letter or email to OCC (see instructions below).

  • Crawley Parish Council has already written – a copy of the PC letter to Councillor Duncan Enright is attached.
  • Every additional letter from a Crawley resident will help to get the action we need.

Your letter should go to Councillor Enright who is the Cabinet Member leading the OCC decision on what action to take.

Councillor Duncan Enright
Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy
85 Newland
Witney
Oxon
OX28 3JW

Alternatively you can send an email: duncan.enright@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Here are a few ideas of issues that you may want to refer to in your letter:

  • HGVs should be kept to the strategic routes through the County and should not be using narrow, unclassified roads through small communities like Crawley.
  • Crawley’s roads are deteriorating because of the HGV use. With limited maintenance budgets we don’t expect they will be repaired.
  • HGVs create risks for pedestrians and dog walkers. There are hardly any footways in Crawley so pedestrians have to walk on the road. We need to be kept safe.
  • Diverting HGVs onto inappropriate routes will be damaging to the environment.

WiVTAG Update June 2021

The Windrush Valley Traffic Action Group (WiVTAG) is making good progress in our campaign to object to the current experimental 7.5t weight limit through the centre of Burford and the effect that this is having on neighbouring communities.

We completed an Interim Report that was sent to OCC Officers who are working on an internal report that will be considered by OCC Cabinet this summer. WiVTAG will also be submitting a much fuller report directly to relevant County Councillors and to all the Cabinet members.

We were expecting that Cabinet would review the Burford Weight Limit at their meeting in June but we now understand that the item has been moved to the July. We will continue to gather evidence and to agree the final text for the full Appeal Document. This will be submitted to OCC at the end of June.

In the meantime, you may be interested to read the attached Interim Report that sets out the main issues of the WiVTAG case. We have shared this document with all the Parish Councils who are supporting the campaign.

Update on Thames Water Pumping Operations

The Parish Council has regularly contacted representatives at Thames Water (TW) to complain about the noise and disturbance that is caused by the tanker operations at the pumping station in Dry Lane. The good news is that there may be an end to overnight pumping by the tankers.

Background situation

The sewers through the village are letting in groundwater. This increases the volume of foul water that runs through to the pumping station in Dry Lane. The pumps in the pumping station are unable to cope with the increased volume and so the tankers are removing the excess (up to 2,400 gallons per day in the wettest period).

TW are working on a scheme to repair the sewers and stop the groundwater getting into them. When the repair is done, the tanker operations will stop.

Tanker operations

Tankers have been operating in Crawley every winter for the last three years. Each year, as the weather improves and the ground water levels drop, the problem at the pumping station goes away and tanker operations can be halted.

Currently the tankers are operating on a 24hrs/day regime. However, as the ground begins to dry out, we are reaching a point where TW may be able to reduce the number of tankers. On 25th March 2021 the TW manager who is responsible for the tanker operation gave an undertaking that he would change from 24hr working to daytime only working (6am to 6pm). They will stop the night-shift (6pm to midnight to 6am). TW advise that this change in routine will begin on 26th March 2021.

TW did make it clear that tankers will return immediately if the levels in the pumping station begin to increase. If this is found to be necessary, it might be possible to operate an 18hrs/day regime and not to have to return to 24hrs/day.

Sewer repairs

In the longer term, works to rebuild the sewers that run under Foxburrow Lane should provide a permanent solution. This repair would stop groundwater from getting into the sewers and the pumping station would then cope with the volume of sewage in the village without the need of tankers to take away the excess. TW are getting prices to carry out the work but it will be a big engineering job that will require ground water lowering to enable TW to access and rebuild the sewers (that will be expensive!).

Parish Council

The PC view is that TW have recognised the need to rectify the problem and are taking active steps to do something about it. However, the best we can expect is that these works will be undertaken during the summer and that tankers will not have to return through the autumn and winter of 2021.

Please contact Mark McCappin via mark.mccappin@crawleyvillage.org.uk if you have any questions.

WiVTAG Update March 2021

Windrush Valley Traffic Action Group (WiVTAG) has decided on our campaign strategy against the experimental weight restriction in Burford that has closed the A361 bridge in the centre of Burford to vehicles over 7.5t. These HGVs are now finding alternative routes through villages like ours. Please read the attached summary document of the case that we intend to present to Oxfordshire County Council.

WiVTAG is growing – we now have support from 19 town and parish councils (including Crawley PC) and an increasing number of farms, businesses and haulage operators. We will continue to develop and strengthen our case ahead of the formal review of the Burford scheme by OCC Cabinet in June 2021.