Having formally submitted her objections to the public consultation on the Northern Gateway proposals, Nicola spoke out at the examination hearing on highways and traffic.
Nicola has consistently said we must have infrastructure before expansion, and in the case of Northern Gateway she has been clear that we must have the crucial link road in place in order for the development to get the go ahead. The link road would be to the west of the A34, and would help to cut congestion at local junctions and remove northbound A44 trips from the Peartree Interchange as well as easing congestion on the A40 approach and the Wolvercote roundabout.
The Planning Inspector has chaired a series of hearings in order to examine the City Council’s Area Action Plan for the scheme. Nicola made clear her position that current mitigation measures put forward for the proposed site is inadequate, and that the strategic link is essential. Oxfordshire County Council said that, taken with other local transport improvements, planned mitigation measures would help alleviate congestion and that in planning terms the strategic link road is not required. Nicola explained how constituents sit in hours of traffic daily, and so to say that the traffic situation has not worsened and will not worsen further with the Northern Gateway development is entirely unreasonable. Any development has to be supported by the appropriate infrastructure and the Council must be confident that it will not worsen traffic.
Following the hearing, Nicola wrote directly to the Planning Inspector to discuss crucial phasing of the development in line with planned transport improvements.
See Nicola’s written submission to the public consultation here: Nicola Blackwood MP Northern Gateway Consultation Submission
And her letter to the Planning Inspector here: Nicola Blackwood letter to Planning Inspector
Nicola says: I simply don’t accept the County Council’s argument that the Northern Gateway can go ahead without this link road. My constituents sit in hours of traffic day after day on these roads, which are frequently over capacity and any new development in the area must not make the situation worse. Much needed road improvements like work on the Botley and Peartree junctions we have secured will make all the difference, and so I have been clear that development must be properly phased so as to cause minimum disruption to locals.