Everyone agrees that speeding traffic is a real problem in West Adderbury.
Milton and Berry Hill Roads have seen a vast increase in traffic volumes over the last few years, and Horn Hill and Cross Hill Roads are increasingly used as a rat run. On the short stretch of the A4260 between the junction of Berry Hill Road and Deddington, an astonishing five people have lost their lives since 1999. There have been so many accidents at the junction of Berry Hill Road itself that the “Crash Map” from crashmap.co.uk can’t even display them all.
Adderbury Parish Council have recently published a statement which lists the actions it is taking to address traffic calming across Adderbury. For West Adderbury, these include:
- A new gateway on the Oxford Road, approaching from Deddington.
- ‘Give and take’ chicanes at the existing gateways on Milton and Berry Hill Roads, to significantly slow traffic prior to the housing on these roads.
- A consultation on restricting entry to the village at the Oak Tree (i.e. closing off one of the roads at the Oak Tree junction of Horn Hill, Berry Hill and Milton Roads)
This all sounds fantastic – but please don’t get too excited.
In 2004 – sixteen years ago – Adderbury Parish Council had a traffic calming sub-committee. This committee put forward recommendations and it was agreed that Adderbury Parish Council would ask the Area Engineer to put in motion a number of traffic calming measures, including:
- West of Milton Road/St Mary’s Road junction – narrowing with build out kerbs;
- Berry Hill Road/Oxford Road – amended marking to make junction safer, extension of 30 mph speed limit beyond Fired Earth and possibility of right turn lane;
- Pump House Garage – narrowing with build out kerbs and priority signage;
- Consideration of amending the Oak Tree Corner – no left turn (except buses) into first slip from Milton Road.
In 2005 Adderbury Parish Council also said it would look into placing a Vehicle Activated Sign in West Adderbury. This was discussed again in 2007 … and in 2008 … and in 2012 … and in 2013.
In 2010 a West Adderbury resident was almost knocked over at the junction of Milton Road and Horn Hill Road. Adderbury Parish Council responded by explaining that “We have tried to create an overall plan which would not simply solve one problem by pushing traffic to another part of the village. However the key issues are money and getting agreement from Highways”.
Later that same year a young girl slipped off the kerb on Berry Hill Road and was hit by a van. Adderbury Parish Council responded by saying that it was “sorry to hear about the accident, but the traffic problems and the need for traffic calming was an issue which had to be raised with Oxfordshire County Council. The Parish Council had been involved in a long campaign for traffic calming in the village, which included Berry Hill Road, but unfortunately the County Council did not see this as a priority area.” Councillors held a meeting to discuss the accident and the need for a footpath along Berry Hill Road, but “because of funding issues, this was unlikely to be implemented”.
In 2012, a speeding survey was carried out on Horn Hill Road using a radar gun, and Adderbury Parish Council reported (surprise, surprise) “it appeared that traffic was speeding on Horn Hill Road”. In 2013, the idea of a pinch point at the Pump House garage was raised once again, but “It was highlighted that there was only a limited amount of money in the budget and the Parish Council was trying to spread the available funds around the village as best it could”. Eventually, the idea of a pinchpoint here “was rejected because it was considered too urbanising because of signage etc. would also be needed and it was very expensive”.
However, we note that between 2004 and 2014, Adderbury Parish Council paid for a fixing device for a VAS to be installed on Aynho Road; arranged for a 30mph speed limit to be implemented on the Aynho Road and a refuge to be built on the Oxford Road through Twyford; and received £18,000 in Section 106 funds which was “allocated for Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) on the Aynho Road”
In 2015, the idea of closing off one road at the junction of Berry Hill and Horn Hill Roads was raised yet again (see above). Yet again, Adderbury Parish Council said they would investigate this.
At the same meeting, a resident of Cross Hill Road raised concerns about speeding traffic, saying she had witnessed three accidents there recently. The Chairman of Adderbury Parish Council assured her that traffic calming issues would be covered in the Adderbury Neighbourhood Plan (they weren’t). She also explained that Section 106 funds from developments on the Milton Road could not be used on Horn Hill Road (although no reason for this was given). Having finally managed after 11 years to install a Vehicle Operated Sign (VAS) on Horn Hill Road, the Council agreed that VAS were “not very effective”.
In 2016, a resident of Manor Road raised concerns about speeding traffic and asked for speed bumps. The same year a resident of Adderbury Fields asked for a zebra crossing on the Milton Road. The Chairman of the Parish Council said that “The Parish Council will add a crossing on Milton Road to other suggestions for the Traffic calming group in that area, although it could take a long time as such items often depend on Developer contributions through 106 agreements“.
In 2018 a Traffic Calming Working Group made a number of recommendations to the Parish Council. However, concern was expressed by councillors about how this project would be funded. However, that same year it was highlighted that £25,000 was available in Section 106 funds from developers for traffic calming around the village.
What traffic calming measures have actually been implemented in West Adderbury since 2004? Well, white lines have been drawn at the entrance to Dog Close/ Round Close Road, but unfortunately this has led to a range of other problems. A Vehicle Activated Sign has been installed on Horn Hill Road and then moved to Milton Road – this is very useful in confirming that a vehicle is actually speeding but does not do anything at all to prevent it. We also have pretty white gates on Berry Hill Road and Milton Road, and a range of plastic signs which ask drivers very nicely to slow down (they don’t).
The official Government guidance on traffic calming unfortunately confirms that gateways, signage and Vehicle Activated Signs have some of the lowest impacts on traffic speeds and traffic flow. The most effective methods of traffic calming are speed bumps and pinch points. We sincerely hope that the proposed pinch points on Berry Hill and Milton Roads will receive serious consideration – but since Adderbury Parish Council has been discussing such measures for the past sixteen years we are not going to hold our breath.
As for Adderbury Speedwatch – this scheme is operated by volunteers who have absolutely no powers to issue speeding tickets. Speeding drivers *may* receive a strongly worded letter if they are caught multiple times. While we believe that those volunteering for Speedwatch schemes should be commended, we would also like to point out that across the country there are many reports of volunteers being verbally and even physically abused. Training unpaid volunteers to use a camera (which is not legally valid to issue tickets) is certainly inexpensive, but we question just how effective this is at actually preventing speeding.
Throughout the years, Adderbury Parish Council has spent hundreds of hours discussing the need for traffic calming in West Adderbury, but has actually achieved very little. Time and again we are told that this is down to funding issues – but Adderbury Parish Council have some £25,000 of Section 106 funds to spend on traffic calming.
Adderbury Parish Council has recently spent over £60,000 of their Section 106 funds on the football pitches and community centre on the Milton Road – and this massive figure does not even include the current re-levelling and drainage work being carried out by D W Clark.
Is the failure to provide robust traffic calming in West Adderbury a question of funding? Or is it a question of priorities?