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.

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.

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.