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Oxford-Cambridge Expressway: Articles available on our website

URGENT: Expressway Action Group request for letters to be sent to Councillors

From Peter Rutt, EAG

 

Hello everyone

 

Following our last general email to you all, lots of members have written emails and letters to MPs and Councillors following the publication of the extraordinary letter sent to Local Councils from the Housing Minister - thanks to everyone who did.

 

However, a few of the emails we have seen have been rather harsh in tone, and some also strayed off purely Expressway matters and turned to more general criticisms.  While I understand that there are issues out there which upset people, there is a danger that we will antagonise the very people we are trying to persuade, or even people who are already supporting us wholeheartedly - for example our very helpful MPs.  

 

The people we need to urgently contact and influence re Mr Malthouse’s letter are local Council leaders, Officers and the Councillors - they are the people who have been asked to respond to the Minister’s request for suggestions for ‘new settlements’ (i.e. new towns).  

 

There is a risk that some of these Councillors or Council officers may actually want large and very large new settlements South and East of Oxford (and the Expressway to go with them) and will say so when they reply to the Government’s request, without asking their residents and constituents. Others may oppose - but with so many people away on holiday and so little time to respond, there’s no chance of a full debate on the issue before the deadline.

 

We therefore need to lobby as many of them as possible by emails, letters and in meetings if the opportunity arises: 

 

1.  They should NOT suggest large new settlements in their areas to Government until proper plans have been drawn up and published, and the electorate and residents have been consulted.  Anything less would be wholly undemocratic and beyond their current mandate, and outside proper planning process. 

 

Our letters should also point out that 

 

2. We support Government aspirations for better E-W transport, better links between Road & Rail including the East-West Rail project, new affordable homes and more new jobs and new businesses: but  

 

3. We are very concerned at the risks of placing an Expressway and its New Towns in the London commuter belt south and east of Oxford - homes there would generate extra congestion on M40 and M25 and a loss of local job creation in the  ‘dormitory towns’  springing up along any Southern Expressway route.

 

4. We oppose any separation of the Expressway from the route of East West Rail, thus losing the chance to shift passenger and freight traffic from road to railway.

 

5. We strongly oppose any route for the Expressway through the Green Belt, through rare and endangered habitats, wildlife reserves and across flood plains. There should be no new roads or housing on these vulnerable and threatened lands, and instead the road should follow improved / existing major roads. 

 

We would recommend that as many letters as possible be sent to Council leaders, Councillors and senior Council officers and Chief Executives of Councils as soon as possible, because the deadline for local government submissions to central Government is in less than 6 weeks, and they will have begun working on this already… so every day counts.  

 

With thanks from everyone...

 

All best regards

 

Peter  Rutt / EAG

 

District Council: 

Oxford City

Chief Executive, Gordon Mitchell
gmitchell@oxford.gov.uk

Senior PA to Leader & CE, Emma Mace
Tel: 01865 252354
emace@oxford.gov.uk

South and Vale

Chief Executive, Mark Stone
Tel: 01491 823103
Fax: 01491 823104
mark.stone@southandvale.gov.uk

Personal Assistant, Sharon Lee
sharon.lee@southandvale.gov.uk
01235 422099

West Oxon

Chief Executive, David Neudegg
david.neudegg@westoxon.gov.uk

Guest, Mrs Joanna Neudegg

Personal Assistant, Mandy Smith
Tel: 01993 861613
mandy.smith@westoxon.gov.uk

Details about the chairmen of Oxfordshire's district councils and town mayors. Some selected below … https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/council/about-your-council/government-oxfordshire/mayors-and-chairmen

Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council

Councillor Gill Sanders
Email: chairman@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Personal Assistant, Sara Lenihan
Tel: 07917 092949
Email: sara.lenihan@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Chairman of Cherwell District Council

Councillor Maurice Billington
Email: chairman@cherwell-dc.gov.uk

Personal Assistant to Chairman, Liz Matthews
Tel: 01295 227967
Email: liz.matthews@cherwell-dc.gov.uk

Chairman of South Oxfordshire District Council

Assistant to the Leaders and Chairmen, Karen Dodd
Tel: 01235 422082
Email: karen.dodd@southandvale.gov.uk

Chairman of Vale of White Horse District Council

Councillor Monica Lovatt

Assistant to the Leaders and Chairmen, Karen Dodd
Tel: 01235 422082
Email: karen.dodd@southandvale.gov.uk

Chairman of West Oxfordshire District Council

Councillor Maxine Crossland

Personal Assistant Mandy Smith
Tel: 01993 861613

Email: mandy.smith@westoxon.gov.uk

Lord Mayor of Oxford

Councillor Colin Cook

Executive Assistant to the Lord Mayor, Deputy Lord Mayor and Sheriff, Lizzie Spokes
Tel: 01865 252414
Email: civicoffice@oxford.gov.uk

Mayor of Abingdon on Thames

Councillor Margaret Crick

Town Clerk, Mr Nigel Warner
Tel: 01235 468349
Email: nigel.warner@abingdon.gov.uk

Mayor’s Secretary, Louise Brown
Tel: 01235 468341
Email: mayor@abingdon.gov.uk

District:  Vale of White Horse

Oxford-Cambridge Expressway: Timing of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

Dear Ms Foxcroft,

Thank you for your email dated 22 May 2018.  It has been passed to Highways England from Martin Tugwell from the England’s Economic Heartland Strategic Alliance

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) at this stage of the corridor selection is premature. This early stage of the process does not give rise to a SEA obligation.

The decision at this time is between corridor options which are simply a decision on which corridor to pursue. This indicates that the SEA would not be considered this early in the process because at this time we are not seeking consent.  We are currently appraising the environmental constraints for all corridors which is far more sensible and cost efficient at this time.

We are at a very early stage of development of this project.  During the next stage, commencing in Autumn next year, Highways England will conduct a full consultation on a number of route options in order to make a recommendation to the secretary of state of a preferred route.

The earlier stage of this options process does not give rise to a SEA obligation.  A decision between options is simply a decision on which option to pursue and cannot attract an SEA obligation for the Expressway alone, as it does not set the framework for future decisions as to whether or not to grant development consent. A choice between options ultimately requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which Highways England expect will be required. Given the scale of investment required across the region, the requirement for a SEA will be considered by government as part of the emerging government strategy.

The Oxford to Cambridge Expressway is in the process of setting up a project specific webpage giving information about the scheme, including a timetable of activities and how to sign up for the alerts to receive the latest updates.  This will be live very soon. 

We hope this information is helpful.  If you have any questions or would like more information on the scheme we would be pleased to hear from you.  We can be contacted via OxfordToCambridgeExpressway@highwaysengland.co.uk

Kind regards

Oxford To Cambridge Expressway Team

National Infrastructure Programme

Highways England  | Woodlands | Manton Lane | Bedford | MK41 7LW

Web: http://www.highways.gov.uk

Oxford-Cambridge Expressway: Response from Victoria Prentis, MP

Dear Sarah,

Many thanks for getting in touch about the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway. While I am conscious that Horton-cum-Studley Parish Council isn't in my constituency (as you point out), I have had a number of constituents contact me about the possible impact on Otmoor.

I have been following the project's progress closely given the implications for our area. I met the Secretary of State towards the end of last year to discuss plans, and a couple of days later the National Infrastructure Commission published its "Partnering for Prosperity" report which included a number of recommendations. Specifically on the Expressway, the NIC has suggested "accelerating development work to deliver a clearly-defined and agreed route by 2025, enabling construction to begin as part of the next Road Investment Strategy (RIS 2) and be complete by 2030." My understanding is that the preferred route of the three options will be announced in the summer.

Of course, projects of this size require considerable planning, feasibility assessments and modelling. I am old enough to remember the upheaval caused by the construction of the M40 and have been consistent in my opposition of HS2, not least because of the huge cost. We shouldn't commit to transport projects unless there is a strong business case in support. As the NIC's report makes clear, there does seem to be considerable growth potential for the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge arc; infrastructure and interconnectedness are important in realising that potential.

I appreciate concerns about the level of public involvement so far and the proposed route options. Highways England are coming to Westminster next week so I will raise this with them then. Needless to say, I will also continue to follow developments closely. It isn't clear to me whether you have taken this up with John Howell as your local MP. If you haven't, I would strongly encourage you to do so. 

Best wishes,

Victoria

 Victoria Prentis MP
Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA | 020 7219 8756
Heyford Park House, Upper Heyford, Bicester, OX25 5HD | 01869 233 685

victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk | www.victoriaprentis.com
www.facebook.com/victoriaprentis | Twitter: @VictoriaPrentis | Instagram: @victoria_prentis

If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter, you can do so here. Alternatively, let me know by email.

Oxford-Cambridge Expressway: BBOWT Response

Please click on the image below to visit the Bucks, Berks and Oxon Wildlife Trust and see their report recommending that Expressway Corridor B is discounted, and requesting an environmental impact assessment and public enquiry

Please write to Chris Grayling at the DTA, Michael Gove at DEFRA, expressing your concerns re the Expressway.

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