Villagers are appealing to motorists to join their campaign to get heavy lorries off their road.
South Newington residents have stepped up action in SNARL – South Newington A361 Roads Lobby – in a bid to drum up support from sympathetic drivers.
They plan to erect signs asking those driving through their village to visit their website (www.snarl351.com) and give their comments, especially if they have suffered one of the many near misses that happen every day.
The busy Chipping Norton to Banbury road carries up to 138 HGVs a day. Because of the severe bends and the narrow carriageway, drivers of these huge vehicles, some articulated with six axles, are forced to use both sides of the road.
As a result cars are frequently forced to mount verges or reverse to let them through. Articulated lorries meeting head on and having to reverse can also cause long delays.
Greg Atkins, co-organiser of SNARL, said: “It is dangerous. One man had his head clipped by a lorry’s wing mirror recently and last winter a lady who fell on the ice was nearly hit by a car which had to swerve to miss a lorry.”
The village has experienced major accidents including a three-vehicle crash in May in which four people had to be cut out of wreckage with one airlifted to hospital with serious injuries.
“We want people to put comments on the website to build up strong arguments to force councils to do something and stop turning a blind eye to it,” said Mr Atkins, who lives on a corner next to the Duck on the Pond pub.
“There aren’t enough roads through Oxfordshire so the county council has designated this road a ‘strategic route’.
“And it is worried that if it puts traffic measures here it could encourage lorries to take different roads, such as the A422 Stratford-Banbury road or the A4031 through Hempton. There is a chicane in Hempton so that wouldn’t happen, but it does indicate they realise there is a problem here.”
Mr Atkins said when bad weather or roadworks have closed the road to HGVs in South Newington there has been little effect on other villages, suggesting the drivers do then use the major routes such as the M40 that are more appropriate to their vehicle size.
“The lack of a solution so far is partly to do with money but its also about different departments not talking to each other,” said Mr Atkins.
“Logistics companies are encouraged to come to Banbury on the assumption they are going to use major routes but they’re not.
“Oxfordshire Highways has offered to do a destination survey for us identifying where the lorries are going but they want to charge £10,000 and we are a small village with just 300 people.
“I’m not aware of any other village that still suffers from such heavy main road traffic going through such narrow roads with not one but three acute bends.”
Records indicate there was talk of a bypass for South Newington in 1935 and possibly again in 1957.
Mr Atkins said: “In the light of the level of investment in HS2, if this is a ‘strategic’ route it warrants a bypass or at least some measures in the short term.
“If a contraflow was put in to slow down traffic HGVs would take a different route or they may even support our call for a bypass.”
SNARL was set up in 2011 as a working group to lobby councillors. Self help efforts, including emailing companies who regularly use the A361, have resulted in successes.
Sainsbury’s has forbidden any of its heavy lorries to use the road and DHL and Chiltern Cold Storage have done the same.