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Oxford Cambridge Expressway and Sandford on Thames

By Liz Shatford Sandford on Thames Parish Council

Monday, 16 April 2018


Sandford on Thames Parish Council Contributor


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Sandford on Thames Parish Council is a member of and supports the Expressway Action Group, a group of nearly 40 parishes and individuals across Oxfordshire. The Group was formed in 2017 due to widespread concern regarding the risk posed to our Oxfordshire communities by Highways England's proposal for an Oxford to Cambridge Expressway. The National Infrastructure Commission's final report on the proposal was released last autumn. The proposal is to build a new expressway road from Oxford to Cambridge in order to facilitate growth in housing and industry along its route.


There has been no consultation at a local level and many people are unaware of the implicatons of the project. The Sandford on Thames Parish Council supports the Action Group and CPRE Oxfordshire in lobbying for a full and transparent statutory public consultation followed by a Public Enquiry.

This is from the latest press release published by the EAG

“Co-ordinator, Peter Rutt, explained that there are still too many people unaware that these plans will blight their environment forever. “We are gravely concerned regarding the risks that this project
poses to our communities and the environment. Our demands for a public inquiry are going unheard.
We now know there will no proper public consultation until after the corridor is selected in July 2018.
We are taking the view that as the OxCam Expressway is almost certainly going to be built, we must
try and influence the outcome. We want the least harmful (least worst) corridor for the environment.
And there is no doubt that some of the corridors being considered by Highways England are more
damaging than others. If we don’t enter the debate, we cannot influence it. We all need to let
politicians and local councillors know that this really matters to us and might affect the way we vote.”
He added that EAG believe that the least damaging corridor for the environment, the wildlife,
communities of Oxford and the most beneficial for its economy; is the corridor following the existing
dual-carriageway A34 – the Northern Route. It will maximise the benefits of the East West Rail line, it
will also be cheaper, quicker and deliver benefits more speedily. The Southern and Central corridor
options would cost £400m more, do more harm, be further from the hi-tech Oxford - Cambridge Arc
than a Northern Corridor option, and miss a unique opportunity to ‘unload’ a strategic road, add
affordable housing, and link the Arc to the M4 and the West, via Swindon, and to East-West Rail.
Cllr Kirsten Johnson, representing Wheatley Division on Oxfordshire County Council, comments, “I
have written to government ministers, spoken in council, and done my best to represent the views of
local residents who are against this road going through miles of Green Belt land. I am not convinced
there is a need for this expressway. Any growth should be supported by improving existing road
networks and investment in good public transportation. I have repeatedly called for full public
consultation and am disappointed this will not happen until after the corridor is chosen. Local
residents have a right to be listened to. I fully support the work of the Expressway Action Group in
raising public awareness of this proposed road and showing the devastating consequences it will have
on the environment for hundreds of years to come.”
Why is the Northern Corridor less harmful?
1. Upgrading an existing dual-carriageway A34 would do far less environmental damage than
creating a wholly-new road through 10 miles of Green Belt. (The A34 carriageway is already to
Expressway standard along the whole of its length from M4 to M40).
2. It is the cheapest option by over £400 millions, with less risk of cost overruns
3. It opens the possibility of a better OxCam link to Swindon and the M4, with affordable housing
at the western end, and taking excess traffic off the southern A34
4. It would not attract extra London-bound traffic or London commuters
5. It directly follows the route of the A34 knowledge spine growth area as depicted in slide 35 of
Highways England’s Stakeholders Reference Group presentation of 1 March 2017
6. It links to the new rail stations at Oxford Parkway and Bicester, and would run directly into the
proposed Bicester – Bletchley housing growth area
7. It runs through the heart of the western OxCam Corridor close to expanding growth towns
8. It connects OxCam to the expanding Technology hub around Silverstone and Oxford Airport
The Disadvantages of a Southern Corridor route
1. Higher cost - the ‘Southern Routes’ cost £400 millions more than the Northern option
( source: Highways England Stage 3 Report p 44 -
2. Greater environmental damage, particularly to the extensive River Thame floodplain, with its
rich wildlife assets *
3. Would have huge negative impact on traffic flows on M40 to London and to the North (** see
NIC / Highways Map below)
4. Would not connect directly to Buckingham, Bicester, Silverstone or North Aylesbury Vale;
5. Would prevent extending the Expressway’s economic, connectivity and housing benefits West
of Oxford to Swindon, Bristol and M4**
6. Does not offer the clear advantages of positioning road and rail close together within the
OxCam Corridor**
7. It is located furthest from the A34 ‘Knowledge Spine’ growth area in the NIC’s plan

Contact Information

Julie Anderson

  • 01865 774178

Find Sandford on Thames Parish Council

Sandford-On-Thames, Oxford, Oxfordshire