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Traffic proposals in Charlbury: an update

It’s time for an update on behalf of the Town Council on some proposed changes to traffic management in Charlbury that we are looking to take forward in the coming months.

Some of these are proposals that have been around for some time, and would have been addressed by the last Council but for the pandemic. We think that they will help tackle some of the town’s most annoying parking issues, help address a speeding issue and support our town centre traders. Since the town council elections we have been preparing to submit a Traffic Regulation Order [TRO] to do this, and would like to know what you think.

[To be clear, the current County Council proposed TRO to restrict parking on Hixet Wood has nothing to do with the Town Council, and we have objected to it.]

Some of you will have seen that the County Council is making it easier for communities to reduce traffic speed limits and bring in 20mph limits. We will be consulting on expanding the 20mph limit soon. For now, we are proposing to bring forward an extension of the 30mph limit along the Spelsbury Road as requested by local residents some years ago.

The previous Town Council ran an informal consultation on three parking changes in town. These all enjoyed support and we would like to take them forward:

• Restricting parking with double yellow lines at the bottom of Nine Acres Lane, to remove what has become a bottleneck below New Barn garage

• Opening up parking along Market Street by removing the double yellow lines for mail vehicles using the former Post Office, and creating new spaces for shoppers

• Dealing with the visibility issue for vehicles at Grammar School Hill, where parked cars can currently force oncoming traffic dangerously around the bend at the top of the hill. Following consultation with Charlbury Preschool, the proposals will not affect parking below the pedestrian barriers and allow for some parking uphill.

There are three further changes we would like to make, following feedback and in line with the Town Council’s declaration of a climate emergency and the need to help sustainable modes of transport. One is partly forced by the growing width of the cars in the town: at the very bottom of Browns Lane and at the top of Church Street there is one parking space in each location that can cause buses to become stuck, and we think they should be removed. The second is to enable cycle routes by permitting cycling in a contraflow arrangement along currently one-way roads, particularly Market Street and Browns Lane. Both of these changes we propose to submit as part of the TRO, subject to listening to views on whether these are changes that Charlbury supports.

Finally and in the longer term, it is apparent that the dangers from traffic driving at illegal speeds on Banbury Hill, The Slade and Woodstock Road (much of it from through traffic) can only be addressed by physical traffic calming measures. The Council is planning to start budgeting for changes. In some of these locations and on The Slade in particular, we will need to discuss how we do this with the County Council but more importantly with local people, to come up with proposals that are safe and affordable.

We are still at a relatively early stage of this process, which has to be paid for by the Town Council. We intend to submit a TRO application, and will be discussing this at our November meeting. Members of the public have the opportunity to ask questions or put their point of view about any of these changes to the Town Council meeting on 24 November. Some of them have been talked about for many years, and we believe that all of them enjoy broad support in the town. As well as starting a discussion here and on the Forum, we wanted to start a conversation about the wider issues of traffic and parking in the town; for example, the recent, welcome announcement that the County Council is to enable additional 20mph speed limit areas. The formal, statutory consultation will be run by the County Council and will take place in 2022.

Gareth Epps · Tue 16 Nov, 09:59 · Link

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