The Parish Council met on Tuesday 3rd October with 8 Parish Councillors, Sally Povolotsky, Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) Councillor and Vale of White Horse District Council (VWHDC) and several members of the public being present.
Sally gave an update on the Railway Bridge:
“The bridge strengthening proposals have been further developed, but not finalised, particularly in relation to what finished road layout can be accommodated above, i.e. it might be possible to accommodate two narrow traffic lanes rather than making the priority system permanent. There are aspirations to improve cyclist provision across the bridge, which may only be able to be achieved with a priority system. There are some concerns with the current temporary priority system and consideration is being given to reversing the priority, such that traffic moving up hill has priority.
A series of rail possessions will be required to carryout the strengthening work from below the bridge, possibly 24 in total all on a Saturday night early Sunday morning. Network Rail have indicated that they have some longer duration possessions planned, but it is unclear whether we will be able to make use of these, as these may require engineering train movements, which would then block our access to the soffit of the bridge. The earliest start now is likely to be April 2024, subject to rail possession availability, for which Network Rail have not yet provided a full response and are continuing to be chased for this. It currently appears that the works duration will be about half a year. The cost of the works is likely to be in the region of £100,000 for above bridge works, £280,000 for below bridge works with approx., £120,000 Network Rail possession costs, i.e. £0.5m in total.
Bat surveys carried out so far indicate that none are present, such that this ecological issue is considered less likely to impact the timing of the works. A possession is arranged for October 28th/29th to gather information required for the detailed design’.
Steventon Neighbourhood Plan will be formally submitted to the VWHDC for assessment by the end of October. The VWHDC will consult on the draft plan for a minimum six weeks. All comments will be collated and passed to the Independent Examiner for consideration as part of the examination process. The examiner will consider if the plan meets the basic conditions and recommend modifications where necessary. Following this, the District Council will consider the examiner’s recommendations and determine if the plan should proceed to a referendum. If the plan is endorsed by a simple majority of those who vote at the referendum, the plan will become part of the Statutory Development Plan. The policies developed in the Neighbourhood Plan have to be relevant to planning, and therefore can only relate to the development and use of land.
The next Parish Council meeting is on Tuesday November 7th, 2023, at 7pm in the Village Hall.
Dr Chris Wilding