You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, and you can’t build a housing estate without HGV traffic. But how much traffic does a development on this scale produce? The simple answer is, we don’t know what the final numbers will be, but we have the estimates from the Planning Application. The estimates come from the developer, so we assume that they are putting a positive spin on it, but looking at their numbers, we find that the estimate is for 221,000 HGV movements in total for this site. Looking at some of the other figures, and doing some quick calculations when the build is in full swing, it looks like that from 8am to 6pm, there will be a minimum of 8 HGVs per hour coming into and going out of the site.
The plan is for half of these to come in via Little Milton and Stadhampton; the rest will come from Oxford via Stadhampton. There is no mitigation planned for Little Milton, and HGVs have got stuck getting through the bottleneck there before. For Stadhampton and Chiselhampton, because of the timing of the construction of the bypasses, it will be several years before HGVs can use it (as yet, they have not fully costed it, nor have they safeguarded any of the required land, nor approached landowners to sell). In the other direction, there is a plan that says once the Watlington Edge Road is complete, and the Cuxham Bypass is complete (same issue for Cuxham as for Stadhampton in terms of safeguarding, costs and landowners), then at least a third of the HGVs can come that way. The Cuxham bypass is relatively short, so if you happen to use the stretch of B480 between Cuxham and Watlington, you are likely to come up against HGV traffic on the bend near the Babylon Plant nursery. The same applies between Chalgrove and Cuxham, including the sharp bend at Cutt Mill. Regardless of bypasses, this is still a narrow B road in these areas. Remember the horror of meeting the car transporters on that stretch a few years ago? Well, this would become a daily occurrence; just switch car transporter for juggernauts!
In the other direction, from Chiselhampton’s St. Katharine’s Church up the hill and all the way to Oxford, you will have the same issue. It is notable that the Infrastructure Delivery Plan does not intend to deliver the bypasses and road schemes needed ahead of the development; instead they will happen in parallel, with some of them not coming forward for several years – the Stadhampton bypass is slated for years 4 to 7, for example.
On top of the construction traffic, you will also have the road traffic from the workforce, as well as all the other specialist equipment needed – a concrete crusher for the runways (look forward to over a year of dust whilst that is going on!), piling equipment, cranes, etc. In the middle of that, as soon as you have the first phase complete, you can add local traffic from any new residents, and also the school traffic, as the secondary school is due in phase 1.
The picture for construction is bleak for existing residents of Chalgrove and the surrounding villages; anyone that currently uses the B480 and surrounding roads is going to have to contend with a lot of HGV traffic; and for horse-riders, cyclists and pedestrians, this is going to add an additional level of risk for many years to come. If this concerns you as a local road user, then you need to let SODC know when you submit your response to the Planning Application.
This is the last of our posts with topics to consider. We hope our articles have been helpful. There is just over a week now until the deadline for responses to Homes England’s planning application. Please have your say and make your views known (link below). Thanks as always for your continued support.