Petition to show widespread support for A422 bypass at Farthinghoe

A petition for a bypass for the A422 around Farthinghoe has been launched as the village aims to gain support from further afield.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 12:59 pm
A lorry overturned on the A422 in Farthinghoe in 2015 NNL-150113-112305001

A new working group has been set up to campaign for the bypass to show central government how much the area needs one, after encouragement from the MP.

The petition has more than 500 signatures so far but the organisers hope individuals and companies in Banbury, Brackley and beyond will support it.

Farthinghoe bypass campaigners outside The Fox pub in March, 2018. Parish council chairman Mick Morris is on the right. NNL-180327-170100009

Working group member Pip Clayton said: “The petition is trying not only to raise awareness, as plenty of people in the village know how bad the road is, but we’re also trying to show people coming through the village how much a bypass would benefit them as well.”

The petition is the campaigners’ first step but they have plans to lobby haulage firms that use the A422 daily.

Their thinking is that they must not enjoy going through the tight corners of Farthinghoe, while some commuters dash around the ‘rat runs’ dangerously, as much as residents do.

Posters, fundraising parties and more are to come but the group believes this is the closest the village has been to getting the bypass for a generation.

Farthinghoe Primary School head teacher Wendy Whitehouse and pupils with their Twenty's Plenty posters to get motorists to slow down in June, 2018 NNL-180307-141715009

Farthinghoe Parish Council supports the new working group after being at the heart of the bypass campaign for so many years.

Chairman Mick Morris believes the four-month closure of the A422 last year has shown just show important the road is to the area’s community and economy.

“We found that the most pressure to reopen the road was coming from commerce rather than individuals, and whatever they achieve affects commuters,” he said.

The campaign for a bypass has been ongoing for decades but a breakthrough came in March last year when South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom backed a bid for the road to be funded and designed by the Department for Transport.

Mrs Leadsom, who is also Leader of the House of Commons, said she is convening a meeting ‘in the coming weeks’ between various public bodies to discuss how to bring the scheme forward.

She said: “I absolutely welcome the focus of the local community through their petition, and would be pleased to formally receive it at the appropriate time.

“Separately, I have been engaging directly with freight haulage associations to seek their support for the Farthinghoe Bypass, and the early signs are encouraging.”

Mrs Leadsom contributed to the Government’s recent consultation on the ‘major road network’ to ensure the bypass would be eligible for funding.

During a visit to Farthinghoe Primary School and at a public meeting in the church on February 8, the MP said it was made clear to her that the bypass is a top priority.

Anyone who wishes to sign the petition should visit more information about the campaign, go to the public Facebook group, Farthinghoe Road Safety Group.