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)

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.

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.

WiVTAG: A new Parish Council traffic working group

Although traffic levels generally have reduced over the last year (largely due to Covid restrictions and lockdowns), many of you will have become aware of more heavy vehicles coming through Crawley. We believe that these HGVs have been finding alternative routes because of the experimental 7.5t weight restriction that was introduced in Burford.

Approval was given by OCC for Burford to close the A361 through the centre of their town and across the Windrush river for an experimental trial period of 18 months (August 2020 to February 2022). Burford made the case that HGVs would find alternative routes via the existing network of A-roads and B-roads but such a network doesn’t really exist and HGVs have been finding their way along inappropriate roads in local villages and towns. We get a big share of this unwanted traffic in Crawley because we have one of the nearest alternative crossings of the Windrush via our bridge at Crawley Mill.

But we’re not alone – Swinbrook, Minster Lovell, Hailey, Leafield, Witney and Woodstock to the east of Burford, and villages like the Barringtons to the west of Burford, have been suffering the same problem. It’s all very well for Burford but it’s a classic NIMBY attitude. We want to take action to find a fairer and more equitable solution.

OCC have just completed a public consultation on the Burford scheme at the end of the first six months of operation. Many of you may have submitted comments to this consultation – thank you, if you did. Crawley PC also sent in a document to express our concern and ask OCC to find a better way forward. Other local PCs took similar action and we await the publishing of a report from OCC. The report on the Burford Experimental Weight Restriction will be considered by OCC Cabinet at their meeting on 22 June 2021 and they will make a decision on whether the scheme should continue.

What’s the best way for us to influence this decision? The most obvious answer is to coordinate with other communities and businesses and make a joint representation. This was the initiative that was started by one very proactive resident in Leafield and she has succeeded in getting eight communities to join forces. We held our first meeting on Thursday 18 February and decided to adopt the name Windrush Valley Traffic Action Group (WiVTAG). There are plans to set up a Facebook site for WiVTAG and we will circulate reports on what we are doing though village websites and newsletters. Watch this space!

Colin Dingwall and Mark McCappin are representing Crawley in WiVTAG. If you want to contribute or find out more, please contact us at colin.dingwall@crawleyvillage.org.uk or mark.mccappin@crawleyvillage.org.uk.

Government Proposals for Further Flood Support Measures

The government has published details of a call for evidence that could see insurance premiums reduced for households in known flood areas. WODC encourages as many residents affected by flooding as possible to engage with this call for evidence.

Update on 7.5t Weight Limit Proposals

Crawley Parish Council has been looking to implement a 7.5t weight limit throughout the village. All decisions around weight limits in the area have been paused pending the outcome of the OCC review of the wider area affected by the weight limit enforced at Burford bridge.

The four documents attached below provide details of the Parish Council’s efforts to date. The Parish Council has also submitted a response to OCC’s consultation on the Burford scheme.

Attachments

Response to OCC Consultation on Burford Weight Limit

The experimental weight restriction in Burford came into force on 5 August 2020. OCC has issued a consultation document asking for any objections to be submitted before the closing date of 5 February 2021.

As a result of the Burford order, heavy goods vehicles that would have gone through the centre of Burford are having to find alternative routes. Many of them are using Dry Lane to get across the Windrush river.

If you have been affected by an increase in HGVs coming though Crawley, there is an opportunity to register your concern or complaint.

Please support the future of the village and send an email to christian.mauz@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

Attachments

Thames Water Pumping Operations in Dry Lane

The Parish Council has been in contact with Thames Water to follow up on what is going on with their operation of the foul sewer system in the village. Tankers have been operating at the pumping station in Dry Lane for many weeks causing problems with noise, traffic congestion and damage to the verge.

Thames Water have advised us that the problem in Crawley is due to ground water entering the foul sewer network. The tankers are required because the pumping station cannot cope with the amount of flow – the foul system was not designed to take any surface or ground water so it cannot cope with the volume that is finding its way into the pumping station.

As a solution to the problem, Thames Water arranged for sections of the sewers to be lined. This would stop excess water getting into the sewers and the pumps in the pumping station would then be able to manage without the addition of tankers to take excess foul sewer material away.

The lining process involves inserting a sleeve inside the existing sewer. The sleeve is inserted with what is essentially a heavy duty balloon, the balloon is inflated and this causes the liner to form the shape of the sewer and stop the ingress of water. Once the resin in the sleeve has dried, the balloon is deflated and removed.

However, when TW attempted this work, they found that the pipes were cracking under the internal pressure from the balloon. Ground water has washed away material from around the outside of the pipes which allows the pipes to break.

TW have not had this issue before in any of the locations where they have carried out this type of work. They were forced to stop the lining to prevent a total failure as this would involve an almost impossible task of trying to control the ground water within the excavation and would have meant a long road closure just to fix the one issue.

TW now need to find a different approach to this issue and unfortunately they will need to carry on with the tankering until the levels within the sewer have subsided. We have asked them to limit the tanker operations to daytime as far as possible to minimise the noise and disturbance that is being caused to Crawley residents and they have given us an assurance that they will try to do this.

Patch Lining Map
Map showing Thames Water sewer patch lining attempt in December 2020