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Progress Towards a Cycle Path?

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Graeme Markland

The Oxfordshire Growth Board has recently published details of the infrastructure projects that are to receive funding in Year 1 and Years 2 — 5 of the Oxfordshire Housing & Growth Deal, signed in April 2018. The total £150 million of Growth Deal funding has been earmarked for specific projects.

Why is this relevant to Haddenham?

The Thame-Haddenham Cycle Route

The Thame-Haddenham cycle route has been approved for funding by the Oxfordshire Growth Board (as part of the Government's Growth Deal). The aim of the project is to provide a better walking and cycling environment to a key transport node in the area (Haddenham & Thame Parkway), while reducing congestion, air pollution and noise. According to the report, "it will support healthy and active communities in both Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and could contribute to the delivery of 223 houses."

The estimated Growth Deal spend for the cycle route scheme is £8 million, and the full cost is £10 million.

According to the appropriately named Graeme Markland, Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Officer for Thame Town Council: "the whole identified fund is £310 million.  It is rumoured that £600,000 will be needed to make the A418/Aylesbury Road roundabout bicycle friendly and so we think there is probably a major reworking of the roundabout in order to remove the peak-time bottleneck.  There is even a chance it might fund a move of the A418 away from the roundabout, north of Thame"

"There is no suggestion yet as to where these homes might go or in what time frame — the theory is the Growth Deal money will enable housing and job growth.  It is identified for feasibility through to delivery between years 2 to 5 (2022/2023?).

"Scrutiny on 13th December so we should know what the District are proposing in the South Oxfordforshire District Council's reworked local plan a few days before then."

The full report can be read online here.

UPDATE — 5th December 2018

Cycling to Thame

Jack Mayhew, BCC's lead Growth and Strategy Officer in the Transport Strategy department has told Haddenham Safe Walking & Cycling Group that £8 million is clearly a lot of funding for the cycleway.

"We do not yet know exactly what this sum of money is designed to cover.

For more info on Oxfordshire Growth Deal (which administers the funding) see here.

  • Officers both at BCC and OCC would fully expect the funding to be applicable for the sections of cycle route on both sides of the County border. This is only really an administrative issue, and I'm sure we can make it work. Nobody wants to see only half a scheme built!
  • There is no decision at present about which route will be progressed. This is subject to land owner negotiations, which are currently ongoing for both route options. Both councils are keeping all options on the table at present.
  • There is no similar Housing and Growth deal for Buckinghamshire at present, as emerging Buckinghamshire Local Plans are already at full capacity of housing growth which can be accepted locally (based on objectively assessed housing need).

While the resources available to us differ, both BCC and OCC are contributing funding to the project (including capital funding for its construction), with the current preparatory work entirely funded by BCC.

BCC is taking a day-to-day lead on management of the project at present. BCC officers and members are very much supportive of this project and keen to work collaboratively cross-border to see a quality route on the ground as soon as possible. There should be no doubt that BCC is fully committed to the scheme."

Cycling to Aylesbury

BCC is putting in an application to the Government's Housing Infrastructure Fund which might provide some funds for more cycleways — but:

the majority of the year HIF funding is for the Aylesbury Link Roads.

For more info on Aylesbury Garden Town HIF bid, see here.