Residents will be aware the the diversion of traffic in connection with the road closure in Great Bourton has seriously impacted on the integrity of the grass verges in Crow Lane, Foxden Way and School Lane. This has been partly due to the inadequate signage in Cropredy and Great Bourton to divert the traffic via the Oxhey Hill route out of Cropredy to access the A 423. The Parish Clerk has been in contact with the relevant authorities and the series of correspondence is shown below for your information: Here is the brief from the Parish Council regarding the road closure.
From: Stephen Bowen
Sent: 15 March 2018 14:33
To: Licensing and Streetworks Team – E&E <[email protected]>
Cc: Powley, Katherine – E&E <[email protected]>; Wasley, Mike – E&E <[email protected]>; Barrett, Adam – E&E <[email protected]>; Cllr George Reynolds <[email protected]>; The Bourtons Parish Council <[email protected]>
Subject: Main Street Great Bourton road closure and diversions
You should all be fully aware of the closure of Main Street, Great Bourton to facilitate sewer connection works, and diversions that have been put in place by OCC.
The Parish Council has warned that using School Lane/Crow Lane/Foxden Way/Spring Lane, Little Bourton as a diversion route was inappropriate. Now that the closure is in place we are seeing the full impact of this which is causing numerous problems :
- School Lane and Crow Lane are village residential lanes which are extremely narrow and have very tight bends. They are completely inappropriate to high volumes of vehicles.
- There are no weight or width restrictions imposed by the TTRO’s so HGV’s are attempting to use these narrow lanes and are at serious risk of causing damage to properties along these lanes, for which OCC would be liable.
- Foxden Way is also a narrow rural lane again unsuitable to high volumes of traffic and with very limited passing places. This is resulting in large numbers of vehicles of all sizes taking to the verges to get past oncoming traffic. Serious damage is being caused to the verges along Foxden Way which will require considerable reinstatement which OCC will have to manage as the highways authority.
- The signage erected to support the diversions is not according to the plans provided.
- The signage erected also appears to be being moved in places , by whom we do not know, resulting in vehicles having to stop and ask directions. There appears to be no regular or planned checking that signs remain in place or are indeed as required by the original plan.
The Parish Council believes that the only diversion route should be using the main roads [A423 and Oxhey Hill, Cropredy] and that signs about narrow lanes being unsuitable for HGVs should warn drivers before they get stuck or cause damage.
All this has happened within the first 4 days of a projected 6 week closure. If we are to avoid much more serious damage being caused to rural lanes and verges and potentially property, which will cost significant amounts of money to rectify, something needs to be done now.
The Parish Council requests that the responsible department within OCC urgently arrange a site visit, which Councillors would support if required, to review, on the ground, the diversion routes and decide what needs to be done. It is also essential that liability for rectification of damage caused, and road and verge repair is accepted and a plan put in place, so that immediately the closure is over, repair work can commence.
This is a problem that was identified early and warnings were ignored. Action is required now.
Please provide an urgent reply with details of the action to be taken.
Stephen M Bowen
Clerk to the Council
for and on behalf of
The Bourtons Parish Council
Thank you your e-mail below, and I do appreciate your concerns regarding the abuse the diversion is getting. I have passed these concerns to our Network Supervisor who has now has been to site to assess the situation, his comments are:-
I have today visited site and can confirm that NO diversion signs exist that direct any traffic through Little Bourton. The official diversion route is signed as per the plan and any traffic that does take Little Bourton is doing so without instruction from the workforce.
I have taken the additional step of getting the contractors to contact the TM company to supply “local traffic only” signs and cover the roads into Little Bourton.
Re your suggestion that the diversion route uses the uses A423 / Oxhey Hill, Cropredy, it does, if you follow link, www.roadworks.org, and search for Great Bourton, this shows the approved diversion route. If this is different to what’s on the ground then please let me know.
Whilst we do everything in our power to ensure the diversion route is signed correctly, and our Network Supervisor confirms this, we not able to stop motorists choosing their own route.
We will of course continue to monitor the works.
Principal Officer – Traffic Schemes
Area Operations (North)
Tel: 0345 310 1111
—- On Wed, 21 Mar 2018 08:42:43 +0000 Steve Bowen, Parish Clerk wrote —-
Thank you for your email reply.
We note your acknowledgement of our email but remain concerned about the failure to address the specific issues that we raised.
We are also concerned about your comment that there is no diversion route through Little Bourton. We originally received two maps from OCC advising of 2 diversionary routes one using the A423 via Cropredy and the other following Foxden Way : please see attached maps. Your network supervisor suggests that we should look at roadworks.org but we would point out that this site had NEVER been advised to us, indeed we had never heard of it. We have therefore relied on the maps sent to us and have circulated and published these widely.
We have undertaken a review of the local signage as you have suggested, and our comments are attached. We agree that installing signs that say “local traffic only” to protect roads into Little Bourton is an eminently sensible idea, its just a shame that this was not thought of at the start, and that the map confirming Foxden Way as one of 2 official diversion routes was issued, if this was not meant to be used.
But none of this deflects from the contents of our original email. The fact is that the verges along most of the length of Foxden Way have effectively been destroyed through no fault of this Council, nor its residents, and they will have to be reinstated. We are certain that this cannot be the responsibility of this Council and must reside with the responsible Highways authority. This question has been ignored and we need an answer and a commitment to reinstate the verges once the diversions are over, and at no cost to us.
Also, at the meeting with yourself and colleagues on site, primarily to discuss the traffic calming issues, it was made clear to us that Main Street had to be closed in order to protect workers and avoid collapse of the trench. However the reality is that this statement is either incorrect, or has been completely ignored by the contractors. They have made an agreement, supported by OCC School Transport, with Cheney Coaches to allow school buses through the roadworks. However this agreement has been widened to allow the road to be open whenever workers are not present. This is hugely beneficial to local resident and we are grateful.
But we are confused. If closure was essential to avoid potential collapse of the trench and provide worker protection, how is it that now it is safe to allow traffic along the very narrow roadside. We would appreciate an explanation please.
We are afraid that this whole debacle has done little to improve local opinion of OCC. With considerably greater care and working with the local PC, all of this could have been avoided. Instead we were ignored and advised that this was how it had to be : unfortunately you have neither delivered on what you stated nor has the work gone smoothly.
We look forward to your email addressing the issues that we originally raised and those highlighted above.
Stephen M Bowen
Clerk to the Council
The Bourtons Parish Council