Latest Vale news April 2018

Harwell link road officially opened

There was ‘something old and something new’ when Oxfordshire’s latest major transport improvement - the £11.65m Harwell Link Road – opened on 28 March.

Vintage vehicles from the golden age of motoring were joined by a ‘driverless’ car, a hydrogen powered vehicle and electric bicycles and be the first to travel down the brand new route.

More than 5,000 people work at Harwell Campus each day and the newly opened road, with its cycle and pedestrian facilities, will deliver an array of benefits to those currently living near and working at the campus. 

By improving the local transport network the road will provide the confidence necessary to attract more business investment and high-skilled employees. 

The project was also designed to improve national and local connectivity and boost local employment opportunities with links to new housing developments and further improvements to the road networks planned.

Calls for great public engagement on Expressway options

Following the Government's announcement that it will accept the National Infrastructure Commission's recommendation to create a new Oxford-to-Cambridge Expressway, Highways England have taken on the task of developing the project. Whilst there is a great deal of public consultation planned on the detailed route, a much bigger decision is set to be made first. This is to determine the "route corridor". In broad terms, for Oxfordshire that could mean does the road go North or South of Oxford. This will obviously have huge impact on the county's infrastructure and will determine which communities are directly affected (or indeed benefit) from the new road.

Therefore I have written to the Secretary of State for Transport calling for more public engagement on the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway before a decision is made on the route corridor. You can view the letter by clicking here.

Government announces funding through Housing Infrastructure Fund

The Government has confirmed that two of Oxfordshire's bids for the Housing and Infrastructure Fund (HIF) are progressing through to the co-development stage.

Detailed business plans will now be developed for the £300 million of transport infrastructure investment.

If agreed, the investment would substantially improve the county’s transport infrastructure, including a new river crossing at Culham and an upgrade of the A40. The improved infrastructure would enable the development of new living and employment areas using sustainable design principles, including improved cycling provision.

The announcement comes on top of the recently agreed £215 million Oxfordshire Housing & Growth Deal, which will fund transport improvements and more affordable housing. 

Didcot Garden Town – £171m is sought for transport improvements including a Didcot Science Bridge and A4130 dual carriageway, a new river crossing at Culham and Clifton Hampden Bypass. This would support the delivery of over 22,000 homes in Didcot, Culham, Harwell and Berinsfield. Additionally up to £70m of cycle and other sustainable transport improvements are proposed for inclusion in the bid plan.

West Oxfordshire Garden Village – £135m is sought for further upgrades to the A40, building on existing schemes and based on the approved A40 Long Term Strategy including development of the Rapid Transit network and additional highway capacity on A40 transport corridor. This would support the delivery of over 10,000 homes in Witney & Carterton, and around Eynsham.

Final funding awards for the bids will be determined by Government following the agreement of detailed business plans on the delivery of the new infrastructure.

New awards for voluntary and community groups

People needing independent advice and help with transport around the Wantage area will continue to receive vital support thanks to a grant for an advice centre from Vale of White Horse District Council. 

The Wantage Independent Advice Centre (WIAC) offers advice and transport to people in and around Wantage, Grove and Faringdon. 

The centre was founded in 1971 with a small group of volunteers providing an information service and advice from a small office in Falcon Court. After a spell in Mill Street in the 1980s, WIAC moved to its current home in Market Place, Wantage in 1995. It now has around 110 volunteers. 

Nowall this good work has been supported by a three-year partnership grant of £58,000 per year from 2018/19 to 2020/21 by Vale of White Horse District Council. 

The grant was approved by the council leader Cllr Matthew Barber, who said: “I am delighted that once again we were able to contribute towards the advice centre, which has been part of the community for more than 36 years. The Council is proud to continue to support organisations like the Advice Centre that do so much to help local people.” 

Organisations interested in applying for funding can find out more information at www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/grants 

The Council's grant schemes open for applications on 25 April and the Council is holding advisory workshops on 16 April at Botley, 18 April at Uffington and 24 April at Letcombe Regis.

Booking is required as spaces are limited - people can book a place by emailing corporate.strategy@southandvale.gov.uk or by calling 01235 422103. Groups can book up to two places per round of funding.

Man convicted of fly-tipping

Vale of White Horse District Council has successfully prosecuted a 29-year-old man for fly-tipping and he has been ordered to pay more than £1,500.

John Francis Joyce of Redbridge Hollow, Oxford pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal dumping of waste at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 27 March. 

Magistrates heard how Joyce was caught on camera depositing three van loads of waste, including mattresses and building waste, on Allotment Road, Redbridge Hollow, near Oxford on 20, 21 and 23 September 2017. 

Joyce was ordered to by the magistrates to pay a total of £1,580.56 which included court costs, clear-up costs and a fine.

The land is owned by Oxford City Council, but it is in the Vale of White Horse district council area and it was the Vale’s environmental protection team and legal department, who brought the prosecution.

Councillor Elaine Ware, Vale of White Horse District Council Cabinet member for Environmental Services, said: “This was a brazen flouting of the law, where the defendant returned again and again to dump illegal waste at the same spot. We will not tolerate this behaviour which blights our landscapes and people’s lives and we will do our utmost to prosecute offenders.”

Tim Sadler, Oxford City Council Executive Director for Sustainable City, said: “It is always incredibly frustrating when taxpayers’ money has to be spent clearing up after the selfish actions of those who fly-tip. This prosecution sends a clear message that fly-tipping will not be tolerated in our communities, and we are grateful to Vale of White Horse District Council for leading on the prosecution.”