Oxford-Cambridge Expressway Update

October 7, 2018

On 12th September the Government announced its chosen ‘corridor B’ for the proposed motorway between Oxford and Cambridge.

The other routes, corridor A (via Thame and Aylesbury) and corridors C1, C2 and C3 (via Bicester and NE to Milton Keynes) were rejected. According to the Expressway Action Group (EAG), corridor B2 has also been rejected by the Government, leaving a choice of B1 (west of Oxford, following the A34) and B3 (south of Oxford through the green belt and roughly following the River Thame).

Will Blewbury be directly affected?

Above is the map issued by Highways England and the Dept of Transport to illustrate its press release accompanying the announcement. Note that the southern boundary of the area under consideration for the Expressway appears to hug the southern outskirts of Didcot. (Link to pdf of map here)

However the map above is marked ‘indicative only’, and another map on Highways England’s site shows a common corridor south of the two possible routes (outlined in orange and green) that most definitely includes Blewbury, and stretches south to junction 13 of the M4.

(Link to detailed pdf here – map on page 19)

While it seems most likely that the new road will make best use of an upgraded A34, a major new road east of Didcot cannot be discounted. The Parish Council has made several calls to the Dept of Transport and to Highways England but, as the Bulletin went to press, had not heard back with clarification on which map should be used. We will issue a stop press as soon as this is confirmed, and a course of action will be proposed in the next Bulletin. Please also see the PC section of the Blewbury website for updates over the next month.

Even if Blewbury is outside the marked common corridor boundary, the village will undoubtedly feel the impact of this major infrastructure development. The housing promised along the Expressway corridor – 300,000 more homes and up to 900,000 more residents – will transform the county in years to come.

The EAG is providing a co-ordinated response on behalf of many villages and towns affected, and making the collective voice of those opposed to the new motorway heard. If you would like to hear directly from the EAG please contact peter@peterrutt.com, who will put you on the email list for updates.

What’s next?

Highways England will now start a year-long study of potential routes within the two corridors. They will release a shortlist of 5-6 routes in Autumn 2019; these will be put to public consultation. According to the EAG, consultation will be a series of open meetings across the counties affected, at which residents, businesses and environmental groups can put their views to Highways. The EAG believes that the consultation will be led by Highways officers rather than by local councils.

Blewbury Parish Council

September 2018