At its meeting on 13 February 2019 Council considered a motion submitted by Councillor Smith and seconded by Councillor Johnston. An amendment, moved by Councillor Blagrove and seconded by Councillor Murray, on being put was declared carried.
In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12, which restricts the duration of meetings to three hours, the Chairman closed the meeting at 10.00pm. The debate on this motion was not concluded prior to the close of the meeting. In accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12, which provides that any business not disposed of by the end of a meeting shall be considered at the next ordinary meeting, this motion is now included on this agenda for consideration.
The motion as amended is set out below:
“Council notes that although Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet have discussed possible corridor options, this Council has not yet debated its position in relation to the proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway and its routes and will bring forward a debate once the consultations begin.
Council notes that all possible routes through the government’s chosen corridor will have a direct impact on residents in the Vale of White Horse District and our environment.
Council recognises the benefits of closer working between Oxford and Cambridge Universities, supporting new business in the region and improving access to amenities and services, and will welcome, as part of the forthcoming consultations, the opportunity to review the evidence that supports spending between £4billion to £7billion on a new road as the best way to achieve these aims.
Council welcomes the following, as confirmed by Minister of State Jesse Norman during parliamentary debate on January 11 2018:
· We are still at early stages. On all routes there needs to be further Process, Discussions, Consultations & Review
· Government & Highways England needs to do further serious analytical work to develop & design route options that are workable for communities, and the environment
· Local feedback is an important part of the process
· Government wishes to develop the scheme in a way that is sensitive to the natural, the built and the historic environment
· A full environmental consultation will take part as part of the development of the route options
· Commitment to continue to work with stakeholders before the public consultation
· There will be a full public consultation on Route options to help shape the design so that it meets the needs of the local community and businesses, where people can have their say on the route options and the wider case for an expressway
· The final summary to the debate:
There will be “ample opportunity for members of the house and their constituents to express their views and shape the decision on the expressway”
In particular Council notes:
· a wish to see that the Expressway is part of the solution to congestion and safety on the A34, A40 & A420. We wish to see the current review of safety on the A34 a stated priority for this scheme.
· We welcome the confirmation from Minister of State Jesse Norman during parliamentary debate with Oxfordshire MPs on 11 January, that work on a potential Expressway will be integrated with work on enhancement to the East West rail network.
· Council notes, as is legally required, any route must include a full and thorough environmental impact assessment of this scheme.
Therefore, Council resolves to engage fully in the consultation process and challenge, wherever required, on the proposed Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.
Council requests that the leader of the council (or an allotted cabinet deputy), at stakeholder meetings they attend with Highways England, Department for Transport and relevant Government ministers:
1. Make clear this council’s concerns regarding any negative potential impact of the Expressway on Vale residents that may emerge during the consultation.
2. Welcome the commitment to greater investment by central government in sustainable transport infrastructure options for the Oxford to Cambridge corridor and elsewhere.
1. Commits to using all reasonable measures to alert residents to the public consultations, including, but not limited to, links on our website and a press release to confirm the dates and how residents of the Vale can get involved, once these details are established.”