Row over consultation on Waddesdon bypass

Councillor Paul Irwin
Councillor Paul Irwin
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A politician has defended the way Waddesdon Parish Council handled a consultation asking if people wanted a village bypass.

Property developer Arnold White Estates had initially surveyed residents after starting a campaign for a bypass to be built by HS2 Ltd, which will send hundreds of heavy construction vehicles along the A41 while building the line.

It says that it found a majority of people were in favour of a permanent relief road.

However, Waddesdon Parish Council then conducted its own survey which suggested a temporary relief road during construction was the most popular choice.

This option has now been discounted by the HS2 Select Committee which rules on mitigation – and Arnold White Estates is claiming the ‘fundamentally flawed’ parish survey has cost residents any relief road at all.

But district and county councillor Paul Irwin, who represents Waddesdon, said residents didn’t want a permanent bypass because they feared Arnold White would use it as an opportunity to build potentially thousands of new homes in the village.

He said: “People don’t want it at the price of housing.”

He denied allegations that duplicate responses were included by the parish council.

“The consultation was very fair, we were very careful.”

He said Arnold White, which holds large swathes of land in the area, did not make it clear they were conducting the survey: “They never mentioned anything to do with development so a lot of people signed it. They say ours is flawed but I think that is a bit more flawed.”

Mr Irwin added that in any case, the Bicester Road does not have ‘massive snarl-ups’.

“It flows given its a heavily used road.”

Speaking on behalf of Arnold White Estates, Ian Foll said: “The Parish consultation is not an accurate reflection of local opinion. After the first public event found a majority in favour of a permanent relief road, the consultation questionnaire was rewritten, resulting in this majority being reversed. A temporary relief road east of the village was very narrowly the selected option, but with construction traffic scheduled to come along the A41 from Bicester, it would have been impossible for this option to keep construction traffic out of the village, as was erroneously claimed during the consultation.

“It is deeply regrettable that Waddesdon residents will now bear the full misery of HS2 construction traffic as a result of this exercise.”