'Someone will get killed - enough is enough' say Middle Barton villagers
Residents of Middle Barton are determined that 2020 will see an end to traffic speeding through their twisting main street.
In a campaign led by villager Richard Brown, the community has gathered strength behind a Change.org petition demanding action. It follows a worrying accident on Middle Barton's main crossroads when a young father was hit by one of two cars believed to be racing through a section of the village.
Tomorrow (Thursday, January 2) they will put their case to Oxfordshire County Council leader, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, who is going to the village to see the situation first hand.
Mr Brown, of Rectory Road, said: "I started the online petition after Tom Green - who narrowly escaped serious injury when the car mounted the pavement and clipped his leg - had got a lot of signaturies to his paper petition at the school and playgroup."
Middle Barton suffers from being on a main satellite navigation route from Bicester and the M40 to Enstone where the expansion of the airfield has seen more large businesses including the Renault F1 team and where billionaire Peter Mullin hopes to build a huge new motor museum and residential park, which is planned to attract 200,000 visitors per year.
With its narrow lanes and pavements, Middle Barton has seen a huge increase in through traffic - including international-sized haulage trucks. The two worst areas are the Worton Road crossroads where parents taking small children to and from the playgroup and primary school have to cross uphill and a section of North Street where the road and pavement narrow dramatically.
"We have 3,500 or more cars and lorries a day going through the village and it's increasing," said Mr Brown. "It's only a matter of time until someone is killed. We say enough is enough and it's time to do something.
"The B4030 cuts the village in half. The primary school and pre-school are on one side, the majority of homes built in the last sixty years, on the other. Many families must cross this busy road twice a day.
"Vehicles accelerate on the road from Hopcrofts Holt and enter the village at speed. A limit of 30mph is in place but it is not enforced. Potholes, the twisting road which residents have to park on adds further danger. The village’s Lollipop crossing service was recently reduced to mornings only.
"The first step to making our roads safe is obtaining professional advice as to what traffic calming options are appropriate and how much they cost," said Mr Brown.
"Our petition calls on our elected representatives to ensure a comprehensive traffic survey of the B4030 as it approaches and passes through Middle Barton (North Street) be completed by Oxfordshire County Council’s Highways Department by January 31.
"Safe Roads in Middle Barton will then work with all stakeholders to secure funding for those recommendations as quickly as possible. If readers want to help, please sign our petition http://chng.it/nWMwYRCBzL and share it as widely as you can."
Mr Brown and his fellow campaigners hope some of the millions of pounds of Section 106 developer contribution from the Mullin Museum project can be used on a permanent solution to the traffic problems.
Jonny Rosemount of Middle Barton Parish Council said: "The parish council is supportive of traffic calming measures as this is a core issue that comes up time and again from residents. We have also recently undertaken a village appraisal survey and speeding is a core issue that needs resolution.
"We are supportive of the campaign and have been working on solutions. We are involved in a community Speedwatch scheme with Thames Valley Police and have been securing traffic calming solutions as a result of the Mullin Museum development. Traffic monitoring is taking place through the village and we are liaising regarding a more comprehensive survey once the weather improves - as I believe is the recommendation of Oxfordshire County Council.
"In short, the appetite for a solution is certainly there and we are doing our utmost to sort something out. We do not want an accident to be the reason for action so that’s why this is one of our core priorities so we certainly support the new campaign but stress a lot of other work has been done to date."