Didcot Road Traffic Calming

There has been much confusion in recent weeks about the traffic calming measure which Vanderbilt Homes is obliged to build as part of its work on the Didcot Road.  The Parish Council would like to explain some of the background to this, and what it hopes to do to reduce speeding on the road.

When planning permission was granted to Kler in January 2018 for the site now being developed by Vanderbilt, one of the outstanding issues was that it did not own the necessary land in order to build an entrance with safe ‘vision splays’, meaning the ability to clearly see traffic approaching from both directions.  In order to create a safe entrance, a plan was devised to re-align the Didcot Road by moving it three metres to the west.  This plan, which also included a new zebra crossing and relocated traffic calming feature, was the subject of public consultation early in 2020 and was approved by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) in October 2020.

As the re-alignment of the road would have caused great disruption to the village, negotiations took place to provide Vanderbilt with the necessary land to allow it to create an entrance to its site without re-aligning the road.

Although the road would not have to be re-aligned, it was still necessary to install the new zebra crossing and to relocate the traffic calming feature.  OCC determined that the best type of traffic calming was a build-out giving priority to traffic exiting the village.  This was the subject of public consultation in April 2021.  Following the comments received in that consultation, OCC revised the plan to add a hump to the build-out.  This plan was the subject of the recent consultation which closed on 18th February.

While all these consultations have been taking place, OCC has implemented the 20mph speed limit throughout the village and this has highlighted the speeding problem on Didcot Road.  Many residents see the traffic calming feature in the consultation as inadequate and in the wrong location.  The Parish Council agrees that further measures will be necessary and has been in discussion with OCC with a view to implementing traffic calming features which will slow down the traffic as soon as it enters the 20mph zone and before it leaves the village.

Some residents have suggested that a road hump at the entrance to the village would do this job.  Unfortunately, it is not possible (or legal) to install a road hump where traffic is travelling at 60mph as it is on the Didcot Road when it encounters the 20mph signs.  A possible alternative (and legal) solution is a build-out which gives priority to traffic exiting the village at the 20mph zone boundary.  Another feature being discussed is a humped roundabout at the Saxons Heath junction.  Our County Councillor, Dr Pete Sudbury, has assured the Parish Council that one or other (or perhaps both) of these features could be installed using funds set-aside for the 20mph trial project in Oxfordshire.

In the meantime, Vanderbilt wants to get on with finishing its works on the Didcot Road.  If there have been objections to the latest consultation, it will have to be discussed by OCC at a Cabinet Members Decisions meeting towards the end of March, which will cause considerable delay to Vanderbilt.  Under these circumstances, it is possible that the company will revert to its original plan to re-align the Didcot Road, as it already has approval for this.

With this in mind, the Parish Council agreed to support the traffic calming proposal in the latest consultation, on the grounds that it is the least detrimental to the village.  It is also actively encouraging our County Councillor and OCC to implement the more effective traffic calming features described above.  It is hoped that residents will support the Parish Council in this objective.

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14 Responses to Didcot Road Traffic Calming

  1. John Bennett says:

    Why do the council not reduce the 60 mph speed limit to 30 mph in the direction of Sires Hill, reducing the overall speed of vehicles entering the village and allowing for a legal traffic calming hump to be built at the point where the current 20 mph limit starts?

    • Chris Waites says:

      Can’t have different speed limits in different directions on a single carriageway road. Although I agree it would be better to have 40mph all the way to Sires Hill, judging by how often the signs at the junction there are knocked over.

      I slow gradually from ~45mph to 20mph before the new signs but admittedly it does feel like braking fast even at that speed and you normally end up with someone driving too close to you. Certainly slowing from 60mph to 20mph from the time you see the signs would be uncomfortably fast.

  2. Ann+Tomline says:

    Why was money not spent on making footpaths in the village safe for walkers especially disabled and elderly and resurface the road through the village filling potholes than waste money on 20 mph signs . This was not supported by the police who cannot enforce and I have noticed in other areas of Oxfordshire not taken notice of by drivers , It is also a polluter of the environment.
    The money set aside byOCC for 20 mph limits is more than being sent in care! I ask is this a personal vanity project of certain OCC Councillors!!

    • Chris Waites says:

      The police can enforce, they just don’t enforce.

      And Biffa have cleared a lot of the pavements in the village, other than Fieldside which is probably the worst but is the responsibility of the householders, not the council. Of course they won’t stay clear very long if people keep parking on them, pushing mud across the pavement and blocking the drains.

  3. Christine McRitchie says:

    If the new build out goes ahead please paint a keep clear zone on the Saxons Heath entrance. When Vanderbilt started to build it, it was impossible to exit Saxons Heath due to the queues.

    • Donna Hartison says:

      I just cannot comprehend this going ahead ,why again do we have to have a buildout there ,when it could easily be road hump ,keep the traffic flowing ,less congestion,pollution is that not what Pete Sudbury wants ??No consideriration again for Saxons Heath and Westfield .Just hope that when next lot of houses are built the situation gets sorted and someone sees common sense of that is at all possible with OCC !!!!

    • Donna Harrison says:

      Exactly ,,This really has not been properly thought through and should not be a buildout and it is upto parish councillors to sort this out with OCC and Vanderbilt immediately .Why don’t they just say to Vanderbilt do the width wide speed hump so cars have to slow but not stop ,Or we have a community funded speed camera .This situation is beyond common sense I am so Angry .

  4. Debra+Steele says:

    Why can’t we just have a camera on the Didcot Road?? Or will it take a tragedy before this happens?? The speeds are ridiculous and we cannot see any reductions at all since the 20mph was imposed. We see it day & night. A couple of humps are needed at least. Why wont anyone listen to the residents this end of the village.

  5. J+May says:

    We signed in by Zoom to the OCC committee at which the 20 mph zone was passed. We noted the Police did object to it, on the grounds (if I remember correctly) that bringing traffic down from 60+ to 20mp immediately was not practical. For this reason I would certainly support the roundabout at Saxons Heath, which would also serve the purpose of protecting the entry/exit for Saxons Heath and Westfield Road. 1 new development access adjacent to a future proposed new development and a junction with an existing development makes a lot of problems for the PC to navigate, especially as none of these processes are “joined up” in the Planning or Highway processes.

    • Donna Harrison says:

      Bringing 60down to 30 was never practical ,that’s why majority of cars come in at 60 ,when the new hoses are built will the Roundabout happen along with anything else the councils say be it parish or county ,I very much doubt it they will do as they please .Disgraceful!

  6. David Haylett says:

    There has just got to be some police presence with speed guns to trap the idiots who ignore the speed limit.

    A couple of weeks ago I waiting to turn out of Saxons Heath to go to Clifton shop, a car approached from Didcot doing 50 or 60mph, it made attempt to slow down at the 20mph sign but carried on, reached the RED traffic light by the roadworks, did not brake but drove through the red light. Mercifully no one was coming the other way.

    I have been overtaken in the High Street between the two chicanes, I have been overtaken on Didcot Road traveling from the Cross towards Saxons Heath where I turn right.

    The only way to stop these idiots is by prosecution. The police seem able to park a speed camera van on Sires Hill, why not in the village?

  7. Chris Waites says:

    I have a friend in Somerset and there the chicanes etc are always placed outside the village so that traffic is slow before it starts going past people’s houses. Don’t see why it can’t be the same here but suspect the answer is “council policy”.

    Personally I think it’s a shame the staggered build outs on both sides of the road aren’t being considered *as near to the village entrance as the council will allow*, e.g. those used in Abingdon, where you have to drive on the wrong side of the road then immediately back to your side. Physically very difficult to pass those at much more than 20mph even if you’re driving a work van and don’t care about the suspension.

    Although I see the bollards on the High Street build outs have been knocked down again presumably by a speeding/drunk/drugged up motorist (happened before the storm). So maybe they need a nice heavy plant pot on them.

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