The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

A417 Missing Link

Received 08 August 2021
From Julian Lavington on behalf of Cowley and Birdlip Parish Council


The Parish Council has been campaigning for 30 years for a solution to the 'Missing Link', being the legacy left by the original bypass to the village of Birdlip that opened in the late 1980's. The village of Birdlip is the settlement that is most impacted by the current route of the A417. It has been plagued with rat running traffic that use the B4070 as a 'cut through' due to the congestion of traffic on the A417. Many Birdlip villagers have also been impacted directly or indirectly by the frequent accidents, deaths and casualties that are a consequence of the accident blackspot. The Parish Council supports the repurposing of the A417 and the creation of what will become known as the “Air Balloon Way’. This aspect of the scheme has already been supported by the Parish Council in previous consultations and the ability to create a public amenity for walkers, cyclists and horse riders received much support from parishioners in the previous Highways England public consultation. The Parish Council does note, however that there is opposition by some parishioners to the scheme who feel that the area should be re-wilded. Therefore, should following this consultation, Highways England decide not to re-purpose the A417 or remove or delay this aspect of the project due to financial pressures, the Parish Council would prefer the route to be returned to farm land rather than being left as a redundant carriageway as this could result in rat-running or anti-social behaviour. The Parish Council is mindful that the new Air Balloon Way is likely to be a popular local amenity and therefore requests that careful consideration is given to all the other public rights of way that will need to be used to access the new Air Balloon Way to ensure that they are suitable to accommodate the inevitable increased use and the project needs to make funds available to improve the adjacent footpaths and stiles outside of the red-line boundary as necessary. The Parish Council would like to be involved in discussions as to the future plans for the maintenance and administration of the Air Balloon Way, the proposed new parking facilities and the increased use of the public rights of way in general. Many parishioners, particularly those living in Birdlip, support the scheme as for many decades they have suffered from the anti-social sexual behaviour which is centred on Barrow Wake but also frequently spills over into the village itself and near to the village school. The Parish Council believes that the rerouting of the B47070 as proposed will discourage this behaviour as the Barrow Wake view point will be less remote from the main road and that the proximity to the repurposed A417 will encourage families and walkers to use the view point and reclaim this historic area to be used for the purpose it has always been intended. Finally the scheme needs to consider its impact on the connecting roads which are outside the 'red line' boundary. For example the speed of traffic that uses the B4070 is excessive and is a hazard to local residents and the village school in Birdlip. The Parish Council is keen that legacy issued such as these are considered as part of the scheme.