Public inquiry blocks link road Witney's Cogges Link Road plan

Cogges Link Road proposed route
Image caption The proposed route would have connected Witan Way to Oxford Hill

A planned £18m link road in Oxfordshire has been rejected by the Secretary of State for Transport following a public inquiry.

Cogges Link Road was designed to ease traffic in the centre of Witney by going through a country park.

But the inspector recommended refusal due to traffic noise and vibration, environmental and flooding concerns.

Justine Greening MP agreed saying the alternative of an extra slip road off the A40 should be investigated.

The leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Ian Hudspeth, said: "This is obviously a disappointing outcome.

"There has been lots of legal debate in recent times and that has to a large degree obscured what the council's aim has always been in proposing this road - to bring relief to the traffic issues in the town of Witney."

"Those problems will not go away and it is the council's duty to work on ways of dealing with them.

"While this verdict is bitterly disappointing, we must now review our options and work hard with all stakeholders to come up with new ways forward to tackle the central issue of traffic through the centre of Witney."

West Oxfordshire District Councillor, Duncan Enright, who represents Witney East where the road would have been built, was happy with the ruling.

'So blinkered'

He said: "This is exactly the result the big majority of people in Witney East, including Cogges, have been looking for. The Inspector did an extremely thorough job, and we are grateful the Secretary of State has taken care in following his recommendations to the letter.

"I take no pleasure in the fact that to reach this conclusion has taken so much time and effort on the part of the Conservative-run County Council, and that local Conservative councillors have been so blinkered in looking at the pros and cons of this scheme."

The inquiry into whether the link road could be built was delayed in September 2011 when more than 150 people turned up for discussions at Eynsham Hall when only 55 seats were available.

Organisers subsequently had to relocate to Witney's Methodist Church Hall.

At the time the county councillor with responsibility for transport, Rodney Rose, said the road had been something that the county council had been looking at for 20 years.

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