Sharing road traffic concerns

I SHARE the concerns of Mr and Mrs Stevens-Astell regarding the B4525, but disagree as to causes and solutions.

The B4525 is an old drovers’ road, which is not, never has been and never will be suitable for HGV traffic. Unfortunately, everyone and their brother’s sat nav designates this the shortest route between the M40, A43, M1 and vice versa. The main traffic problems on this road are HGVs, which cannot safely travel at speeds in excess of 30-40 mph and cannot pass when approaching each other from opposite directions without leaving the carriageway, thereby damaging verges, trees and road signs, and drivers who don’t know the road well trying to shave time off their journey without due regard to the road’s nature. I fail to see how traffic calming measures would solve these problems.

I live in Middleton Cheney, have been in contact with Northamptonshire County Council Highways Department on a number of occasions about this matter, and have received the following excuses:

a) Police would decline to enforce an HGV ban due to manpower/funding issues

b) the residents of Farthinghoe would complain if traffic were directed to the A422

c) the Highways Agency would have to pay a lot in appropriate signage to redirect traffic to junction 10 of the M40 (which has its own problems, currently being addressed)

Meanwhile, the condition of the B4525 continues to deteriorate, making it yet more hazardous. I have some sympathy for the position of the police, who are indeed thin on the ground in south Northants.

I have none whatsoever for the residents of Farthinghoe, who were offered a bypass when the A43 was dualled, but were unable to agree a route. Subsequently, the A422 was upgraded through Farthinghoe, and it is now far more suitable for HGVs than the B4525. As for the Highways Agency, what are they there for, if not situations like these?

I pay my council tax. Just occasionally, I would like to believe that this entitles me to drive ten minutes down a very local country road to run my three dogs in a Forestry Commission wood without being menaced by HGVs, stupid people driving inappropriately, or comic council capers.

Paula Ramsden

Middleton Cheney

Still questions over school farm

FURTHER to the recent Warriner School Farm grant cut coverage and Councillor Mitchell’s ‘humorous’ letter (Banbury Guardian, November 22), so far the following have been blamed for the cut by our councillors and MP:

The new rules the coalition government has implemented; the school itself; other surrounding schools; the Labour Party; and now the Health and Safety Executive. If it’s blame that our civic leaders want, they need only look in the mirror.

Sir Tony Baldry has confirmed that Councillor Mitchell is committing his county councillor’s discretionary £10,000 budget to the school farm. While this would be welcomed, it represents one quarter of the grant cut for one year only. So, when will the School Farm be in receipt of this £10,000 grant? Is this a one-off political sweetener, or will Councillor Mitchell be lobbying other councillors to commit their budgets to the farm from next year? What specific actions are our councillors and our MP taking to lobby national government, on behalf of their constituents, with the objective of securing the long-term future of this vital local educational resource?

Perran Moon


More letters in this week’s Banbury Guardian