PLANS to close a road in Bishop’s Tachbrook for six months as part of work to build a new school could endanger lives.
That was the stark message from members of Bishop’s Tachbrook Parish Council who are appealing to Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to quash a proposal to close Oakley Wood Road.
The road closure comes as part of plans to install a vehicle entrance while the new Oakley School is built.
But Chairman of the parish council, Coun Matthew Greene has written to WCC to explain the move would have far reaching implications for villagers.
One of his chief concerns is that it will force diverted motorists to take a tricky right turn out onto a very dangerous road where a fatality has already occurred, as well as several accidents.
Oakley School is due to open in September 2024 but in the meantime WCC has sent out an alert to say Oakley Wood Road will be closed from the end of November 2022 until April 2023 as part of the building works.
Coun Greene said: “This road is absolutely vital within our parish, being the only direct connection between the north and south of the community. Residents living south of the closure and wishing to access Leamington will have to travel out of the area via Mallory Road or Oakley Wood Road. Such a detour will involve a right-hand turn onto the Banbury Road. Such a turn is difficult at rush hour and can take several minutes for any one car to perform.
“The speed limit of 50mph on Banbury Road also makes the turn dangerous and you will no doubt be aware that there have been a number of accidents, and sadly even a fatality, on that stretch in the past twelve months.
“With additional traffic turning right, drivers will no doubt feel more pressure and potentially take risks and therefore, without some level of alteration to the junction, this does not feel like a safe option.”
Coun Greene continued that children from the north side of the parish who attend Bishop’s Tachbrook Primary School will have their journey to the school significantly affected.
He explained: “At rush hour the detour using Europa Way and the Banbury Road will likely add 25 minutes for a round trip to the school. As these works are intended in the winter, walking and cycling to a primary school are less likely to be feasible as alternative options.”
While Coun Green also flagged up that trade at the village pub – The Leopard – is likely to be significantly impacted due to the reduced ability of potential users north of the closure to access it by car.
He added that he hoped that given the number of people who walk and run up Oakley Wood Road – as well as the many children who cycle to school along the cycle path – that the pedestrian and cycle access would remain open on the road.
A WCC spokesperson said: “We have only just been asked for a six-month closure to develop the Oakley Wood School access. The developers do not have our permission for this closure, which is needed, and several WCC officers are currently working on other solutions.
“Other solutions include implementing a one-way closure or possibly using special traffic signals. However, as we are currently at the early stages of reviewing the developer’s plans and program, we cannot yet give an answer on the best solution.
“WCC would like to stress that its officers are trying their upmost to get the best outcome for all parties involved.”