Sir – The proposed Northern Gateway development on land enclosed by very busy roads and the soon-to-be-busy railway to Milton Keynes and beyond is understandably causing much local concern. At the Core Strategy Inquiry in 2011, the Inspector said that ‘Development is dependent upon the securing of measures designed to mitigate the impact on the local and strategic road networks, acceptable to both the Highways Agency and Highways Authority’.

At the Examination into the Northern Gateway development, a joint statement was issued by the councils and the Highways Agency which said that they ‘firmly believe that collectively the projects listed will make significant improvements to the transport networks’. Those listed projects include many new projects, such as work at Pear Tree and improvements on the A34, not yet designed and not planned to be in place before 2021.

The listed projects include the ‘strategic off-site link road between the A40 and the A44’, only partially funded at present, with a completion date of spring 2019. This road is listed in the just-published county project update as due for completion in January 2018. Which is correct? Is either? And why do council officers say that this road is not necessary – for the Northern Gateway project?

Given the current congestion at the Wolvercote roundabout, and the projected increase in background traffic, a very significant reduction in traffic here is clearly essential, on top of the redesign. The link road should be completed before occupation of the site and traffic volume severely reduced by diverting all through east-west traffic along it, to the A34 and the M40. I can see no other way to reduce congestion for all residents and workers in the area and enable proper priority for pedestrians and cyclists.

Jean Fooks
Liberal Democrat county councillor for Wolvercote and Summertown