A417 Missing Link

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 31 August 2021
From Caroline Miller

Representation

I have lived in Cowley village for 20 years. The prospect of an improvement to A417 has been on the cards for that whole period. The road clearly needs improvement to stop the bottleneck at the non dual carriageway section and to improve road safety. However schemes that have been considered previously, the tunnel and then expansion of the current road (route 12) would have respected and preserved the countryside. Option 30 came upon us out of the blue. I was shocked when I attended an event to share the current options with the public to discover this option which cuts through greenfield land very close to Cowley and if built will blight an area of outstanding natural beauty. The main argument cited for choosing it over option 12 was that option 12 would require a 55mph speed limit in the area near the current air balloon roundabout which would have an adverse cost to the economy. This is despite option 12 being cheaper to build. However, since this consultation, there has been a pandemic and the world has reset its priorities. I believe today option 12 would be picked. It is less damaging to the environment and the beautiful walks so many have discovered during the pandemic, cheaper to build, and car speed limits are going to reduce in the future anyway to reduce climate change. I urge that the choice of route is reconsidered in light of the new world we find ourselves in where people who live in this area would chose to protect the beautiful countryside rather than shave a couple of minutes off their journey. The enthusiasm for the A417 scheme from locals, MPs and the press is for the idea of improving the road per se, which clearly does need to happen, rather than for the choice of route 30. People are truly shocked when I tell them where the new road would go, as they assumed it would simply be an expansion of the current road.