A SERIES of crashes near a new A40 roundabout has prompted urgent calls for change.

At least eight collisions have occurred near the junction, which lies west of Witney near Downs Road, since it opened on August 25.

One resident, who lives nearby, claims they have counted as many as '15 or 16' incidents on the roundabout, which was built to accommodate traffic from more than 1,000 houses being built north of the A40.

West Oxfordshire District Council's cabinet member for community safety, Norman MacRae, has called on Thames Valley Police to introduce speed checks on the roundabout to help prevent further incidents.

He said: “I’m very concerned. Accidents don’t happen by themselves, something always causes them.

Oxford Mail:

“I couldn’t comment whether it’s bad driving or the design.

“Speaking as a motorist, it feels like the roundabout is a funny shape.

“But speeding must be an issue. As a reasonably regular user, I see cars whizzing up and down.

“If people slowed down and were considerate there would be a lot fewer incidents.

“If one person is saved as a result, that would be tremendous.”

Oxford Mail:

The Oxford Mail understands at least seven accidents occured on the eastbound carriageway of the new roundabout in its first five months in operation.

Two of those happened within three days of each other, on January 20 and January 22, while at least three others were not reported to police.

The number of accidents was not a surprise to the resident who has counted '15 or 16' crashes since August 25.

They asked to remain anonymous, but added many of the incidents appear to happen on weekend mornings.

They said: "Several people have mentioned to me about the number of crashes, everyone's talking about it.

“People go straight through the temporary barriers."

Read again: Cyclist killed in A40 lorry crash

On December 28, there was also a fatal crash on the westbound carriageway, involving a cyclist and a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV).

The cyclist, a 23-year-old man, was declared dead at the scene, although there is nothing to suggest the incident was related to the roundabout.

The A40 was shut between Witney and Curbridge for several hours afterwards. No arrests have been made.

The new roundabout will eventually serve the 1,000-home West Witney development and a 257-home site on land at Downs Road, Curbridge.

It was funded and constructed by the developers of the West Witney development, although the cost is unconfirmed.

A primary school and associated infrastructure will also be built on the West Witney site.

Read again: New primary school set for Witney

The anonymous resident added they were in favour of the roundabout, which has meant many large lorries no longer travel through Witney.

They said: “If there’s 1,000 houses going up they need it.

“It’s helped the lorry situation because they’re going along the A40 rather than going through the town.”

Thames Valley Police did not respond to a request for comment, but Oxfordshire County Council spokesperson Martin Crabtree revealed a routine audit of the roundabout had taken place shortly after the roundabout had opened.

This was attended by safety auditors and representatives of the designers, the developers of the West Witney development, police and the county council.

Mr Crabtree added: “Any road project like this goes through audits which begin when it is designed, during construction and when work is complete.

"At the moment the post construction safety audit process is underway – this is a standard procedure which involves an independent contractor looking at how the project works in practice.

"The aim of this is to identify whether any additional measures such as signs or lines are needed.

“We expect that the reports findings will be known and acted upon in the coming months.”