Diamond junction proposal to alleviate impact of 950 homes

A warning has been issued by A34 bosses about the impact a 950-home development could have on the major Oxfordshire road.

A planner at Highways England, the Government company which manages the dual carriageway, said it could have ‘an adverse impact’ on the A34.

But plans to upgrade the A34 Lodge Hill junction, next to the Abingdon development, were cast into doubt last month when a Government announcement of money for road projects allocated just £24.16m of a £382m bid for Oxfordshire.

None of that was for Lodge Hill, which would cost about £18m. Patrick Blake, of Highways England, raised the concern in a letter responding to an outline planning application submitted to Vale of White Horse District Council (VOWHDC) for 950 homes just north of Dunmore Road and Twelve Acre Drive.

A primary school, nursery, pub or restaurant and shops are also included in the development.

Mr Blake said: “It is not presently known what level of infrastructure might be required and if this would mitigate any potential safety concerns as a result of proposals.

“We are concerned that currently there is insufficient detail available.”

He added that Highways England was not approached to be involved in any pre-application discussions.

Mr Blake called for a meeting with CEG, the developers behind the plans, Oxfordshire County Council, and Vale of White Horse District Council.

The development would sit about 800m from Lodge Hill, which only has north facing slip roads.

The upgrade would build south facing slip roads, creating a diamond interchange. Oxfordshire County Councillor for Abingdon East, Alison Rooke, told The Oxford Paper that Highways England’s comments strike her as being “an eminently sensible response in the current situation”.

She added: “I hope that a comprehensive investigation of the traffic impacts of the proposed development will prove beyond doubt, even to Highways England, the need for a four-way junction at Lodge Hill for both traffic management and air quality reasons.”

Abingdon town councillor Sandy Lovatt previously told The Oxford Paper that research shows it would cut the congestion on Dunmore Road by 50 per cent.

Abingdon resident Stuart Allen, who lives opposite the proposed development, objected to the plans as part of a consultation which ended last month.

He said: “The current A34 interchange in this area only serves the A34 northbound. Any extra traffic that wishes to travel southbound must travel through an already congested Abingdon.”

Resident Paul Dyke added: “The Lodge Hill A34 junction conversion to full diamond seems to be key to the supporting road infrastructure improvements but there are still no guarantees about its delivery.”

A target decision date for the 950-home application has been set as May 2.

A petition has been launched to delay the development of 950 homes until funding for the Lodge Hill junction has been secured, while plans for another 200 homes in Dunmore Road have surfaced.

A planning document sent to VOWHDC called a ‘scoping request’ earmarks land between Tilsley Park and Wootton Road for more housing.

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