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They are doing something, but it will take time

The other day I asked the question what is Oxfordshire County Council going to do about the Swinford toll bridge? This morning I met with OCC’s head of transport, Steve Howell, and Councillor David Robertson at the bridge to talk to them about what they are going to do.

Mr Howell and Mr Robertson assured me that possible solutions to the problems caused by toll collection are being looked at right now. It’s always been obvious to me, but there will be no quick fix. Whatever solution OCC arrives at, whether it is compulsory purchase, building a bus lane or repealing that silly, archaic Act of Parliament, it is not going to happen in the next few months; rather, if we can be patient (and I think bridge users have demonstrated a particularly stoic, British kind of patience) a solution will be found in five to 10 years.

This is a long time, but frustrated bridge users shouldn’t lose heart:

  • OCC is doing something but hasn’t yet decided on the best long-term, realistic solution. As we’re talking about potentially millions of quid of yours and my money it pays to take the time to find the right solution to make sure that the money is used to benefit the maximum number of people
  • No new large housing developments are planned for west Oxfordshire so traffic volume shouldn’t get suddenly noticably worse, as it did after all the new developments in Witney
  • West Oxfordshire MP David Cameron has pledged to do all he can to help find a solution. This could be vitally important if we need governmental help to repeal or amend the Act of Parliament.

It’s now up to us, the people of west Oxfordshire and bridge users, to keep the bridge problem at the top of OCC’s transport agenda. They must fully communicate with us about what they are thinking of doing. I have asked Mr Howell and Mr Robertson to keep me up-to-date on any developments and volunteered to be on any consultation groups. You can send emails to Councillor David Robertson who is OCC’s Executive Member for Transport and Steve Howell OCC’s Head of Transport. Tell them what you think. It is also a good idea to email west Oxfordshire MP David Cameron and tell him that his help and support in finding a solution will be vital.

In the meantime, despite the hazards, I’m seriously considering purchasing a small motorbike.

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