Letter: Oxford: to bypass or not to bypass

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am amazed that Sir William Hayter should quote the North Oxford A40 bypass as an example of 'roads that no one in the areas affected wants'. It was Sir William himself who chaired the original public meeting on 6 June 1966 when the bypass was first mooted and given overwhelming support by the 500 residents present and the chairman (Oxford Mail, 7 June 1966). Since then only the traffic load has changed. A house-to-house poll in the affected area last week revealed 95 per cent support for the bypass.

At present the A40 London to Fishguard trunk road carries 30,000- 40,000 vehicles per day through suburban Oxford, creating accident black spots and totally disrupting local traffic. There have been seven fatalities in the past two years on the couple of miles of the A40 to be bypassed. It is universally agreed that 'something must be done', and in 27 years no viable alternative to the bypass has emerged.

It is worth noting that the route for the bypass was agreed in 1987 by the Department of Transport, the Oxford city and county councils, and practically everyone else. In March this year the department published the detailed plans.

It is perfectly reasonable to criticise the details. It is quite unreasonable to object to the bypass as such, or to seek to delay the construction of a road that those in the affected areas very much want.

Yours sincerely,


Hertford College


30 June