Campaigners Questioning County Council’s HGV Transport Consultation

Campaigners who are trying to stop HGVs using Henley as a traffic corridor between M4 and A34 are seriously concerned about the lack of transparency in Oxfordshire County Council’s consultation for their proposed new Local Transport and Connectivity Plan (LTCP).

OCC’s proposal is to apply a new approach of zonal weight limits and recommended HGV routes.  The former LTCP 2015-2030 cited that Henley on Thames needs protection from heavy through HGVs.

Despite frequent requests, OCC Highways Dept have declined to clearly lay out how the public/stakeholder consultation process will work for the review. It is being undertaken by Atkins, which OCC appointed some months ago as independent consultants.

OCC have however said that no ground studies will be done and insist that Atkins will only consult with Henley Town Council with regards to Henley-on-Thames.

They added that they are aiming for Atkins to have completed their work by this April. The Campaign are concerned that Henley’s voice will not be properly heard and that its use as a river crossing by huge 44 tonne long distance HGVs cutting through town will be ignored.

Over the last 2 years, courtesy of supporters submitting photos via: henleyhgvwatch@gmail.com or their Instagram account, the Campaign has been painstakingly sending photo evidence to the Highways Department at OCC of HGVs mounting pavements, damaging infrastructure and blocking roads.  You can view the scale of the problem below (click square to see full screen)

 

Amanda along with David Dickie who has been campaigning about the air pollution that the HGVs bring into the town, wrote to Henley Town Councillors this week and spoke at the Full Council meeting about their concerns on the consultation.  They have underwritten a safety report by an independent consultant and urged the Councillors to hire a professional highways consultant on behalf of the town to help with a formal response to Atkins covering not only pedestrian safety, but also vibration damage to listed homes and buildings, destruction of road surfaces and pavements, night time movement disturbing residents’ sleep and air pollution risk to health.

County Councillor, Stefan Gawrysiak told the Full Council meeting that he has also repeatedly asked for information on the consultation and concurred about the lack of transparency.

Amanda said, “We are very concerned about what OCC highways are doing. Because it looks like Henley Town Council will be given a short time only to make its case, HTC needs to act now so that they have a robust well-made case ready.”

Amanda pressed Henley Town Council to ask OCC why are they taking out the ‘protection of Henley-on-Thames’ in the new plan and what do they think has changed to justify this change.

Stefan Gawrysiak said that the proposal to fund independent highway reports would be discussed at the Town Council’s Transport Strategy Meeting next week (23 February) at 4.00pm.

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