Remember last July when Eynsham residents stopped the traffic, played footie and tennis and planted a tree on the A40? And how many of us have been trying to tell the Oxfordshire County Council, to no avail, that their transport plans will not work and will increase congestion and air pollution? And how the overall plan remains the same and detailed ideas about pedestrian crossings, cycle paths and roundabouts get even more unfit for purpose?
More recently, Grosvenor (the Developer) and WODC held a joint Public Exhibition on May 18th at the Eynsham Scout Hall - an exhibition of early ideas about the possible design of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds Garden Village. These ideas had been co-created with Eynsham residents and Eynsham group members (including EPIC, GreenTEA, Eynsham Society and the Parish Council) and other stakeholders at a workshop on the two days previous to the exhibition. The aim of the exhibition was to gather residents' views on design sketches produced during the workshop. However, the packed meeting did not achieve this because a barrage of thoughtful and challenging, as well as angry, questions and comments by Eynsham residents, primarily about the A40 plans, took over the meeting.
This was a frustrating experience for all because Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) representatives who are responsible for the transport plans were not there and the Grosvenor-WODC facilitators struggled to respond to the questions (the fallacy of working in silos comes to mind!!). When Ian Hudspeth, OCC Chair, who was standing quietly at the back of the hall through the furore, was invited to come forward to answer the questions, the mood got even angrier. Interestingly, our MP, Robert Courts, was standing talking outside the entrance to the crowded hall and did not, or could not, come in.
After a while, an EPIC member asked participants, 'If another meeting was planned by Eynsham people that would help us put these questions and concerns directly to those responsible for the A40 plans, would you come?' There was a resounding, 'Yes!'. So this is what is happening. Eynsham Parish Council, Eynsham Society and EPIC are setting up a Question and Answer panel including Yvonnne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council's Cabinet member for Economy and Transport, for Eynsham people to ask those perceptive and uncomfortable questions that went unanswered in May. Other key people have been invited, including Robert Courts, who has responded that he cannot attend.
So put the date in your diary and come armed with your questions and what you want to say. You can also send questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's pack out the Village Hall with hundreds of us, so OCC has to listen! Please print out the poster below and tell your family and friends in Eynsham and surrounding villages!
Friday, July 12th, 7.30 - 9.30pm, Eynsham Village Hall
PS: Please note the A40 and Park & Ride planning application and public consultation in the Village News section (/org-news.aspx?nid=1002#news). The deadline for responses is July 15th 2019, so our meeting will be just in time for you to create/refine your response!