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.
Submission of our Final Report to OCC
The 18-month trial of a 7.5t weight restriction on Burford High Street is coming to an end and Oxfordshire County Council are due to make their final decision on whether to halt the scheme or make it into a permanent arrangement in January. In the end, the decision will rest with Cllr Duncan Enright who is the OCC Cabinet Member with responsibility for Travel and Development Strategy. Duncan will make his decision at a Cabinet Member Decision Meeting on 5th January 2022.
WiVTAG has continued with our campaign to halt the Burford weight limit. We have gathered evidence from local businesses, haulage companies and farmers who all complain that the Burford restriction is creating problems for them. We also have the support of 15 parish councils and town councils who are suffering the increase in HGVs coming through their roads because of the Burford restrictions.
Ahead of the final decision meeting, WiVTAG has formally submitted our Final Report to OCC and you can read a copy of this at https://www.crawleyvillage.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/211124-WiVTAG-Final-Report-v2A-24-Nov-2021.pdf
We have repeated our request for the Burford scheme to be stopped and we have offered a suggested alternative of a zonal weight restriction. Please read our report to see the details of this proposal. We remain relatively optimistic of a favourable outcome for Crawley and the other communities who have suffered adverse effects of the Burford scheme.
Crawley is working actively as a member of the Windrush Valley Traffic Action Group (WiVTAG) in the campaign against the current 7.5t weight restriction in Burford. The first phase of the campaign was directed to gather evidence of disruption, damage to the environment, damage to highways and footways, adverse impact on local businesses and farms and the impact on community life that was being caused by the additional HGV traffic that had been diverted from Burford. When this was all collated, WiVTAG was able to produce a full Appeal Statement that was submitted to Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) ahead of the mid-term review of the Burford scheme that took place on 29 July 2021. Sadly, no firm decisions were made at this review other than to confirm that the Burford scheme would be allowed to complete the full 18-month trial period, some extra traffic data would be collected in the next few months and OCC Officers were tasked to work with Burford to look at ways to improve the permit scheme that Burford is currently managing. The final decision on whether to continue, amend or revoke the Burford weight limit will be taken in January 2022.
So now we are into Phase 2 of the WiVTAG campaign. We want media coverage, lobbying of Councillors and letters to the local press. If you have ideas or can help with any of this, then please get going and let Mark McCappin (Crawley’s representative on the WiVTAG committee) know about it. Emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
There are several other ways that you can help:
- Please can you send a letter or an email to Duncan Enright who is the OCC Cabinet Member who will make the final decision on whether to remove the Burford restriction. A flyer that explains exactly what to do and where to send you letter was delivered through letterboxes in Crawley in the first few days of October. If you need a copy, contact Mark McCappin.
- Please can you display a poster in your window or in your garden to support the campaign. Printed copies have been distributed through the village. If you need more (A5 or A3) or want to print your own (pdf file), contact Mark McCappin for copies or files. We would like a visible message for all drivers coming through Crawley.
- Please attend a demonstration in Market Square, Witney outside the Corn Exchange Building from 18:30 to 19:00 on Monday 11th October. Witney Town Council will be holding a Full Council meeting at 19:00 and we expect a resolution to be passed that supports the WiVTAG campaign. Witney is one of the biggest councils that has joined WiVTAG and they are suffering from an increase in HGVs coming through West End. The number of HGVs had gone up by 80% in a count that was done by OCC in February 2021. We think all these extra vehicles have been diverted from Burford.
If you can join this demonstration, that would be great. If you can bring a placard with you, that would be even better.
Please do all that you can to complete as many of these actions as you can. This is our chance to make a noise and be seen. We want to influence OCC’s decision to stop HGV vehicles being diverted through the communities surrounding Burford. Let’s get together and do something to make Crawley a better place.
I you need any more information or you want more copies of the printed window stickers or posters, please get in touch with Mark McCappin. (Mobile 07483 291590 or email email@example.com )
There will be a short Remembrance Service at the war memorial on Sunday 14th November at 10.45am.
Is anyone able to sell poppies around the village in the week or two before the service? If so, please let Sheena know as soon as possible.