B4044 community path
There has been much media coverage in recent days about funding bids and plans for a cycle path along the B4044 between Oxford and Eynsham. The response we have been providing to media outlets is below and explains why we have not been able to pursue funding for this cycle path for the Housing Infrastructure Fund. As we explain, we continue to want to deliver the scheme.
Our original proposals included the B4044 Community Path within the business case. Through the process of developing the bid we need to provide evidence all the scheme package elements we seek funding for meet and contribute to the funding criteria.
We were required to provide evidence as to how the B4044 Community Path would unlock new homes which would not otherwise be built without it being in place. It is our assessment, that if challenged, we would not be able to adequately demonstrate that it is essential to the delivery of housing at Witney and Eynsham (or elsewhere in Vale of White Horse). For this reason the scheme would not meet the Housing Infrastructure Fund criteria. Based on this information the council has taken the difficult decision to remove the B4044 Community Path from the package of measures in the Housing Infrastructure Fund business case.
The council proposes to identify internal revenue funding to continue to develop the scheme design along the same timeframes as proposed, as if Housing Infrastructure Fund funding was being sought. It is therefore proposed that the design will continue to take place during 2019/20 with a key output to ensure the design is cost effective and value for money.
Progressing the design now will ensure that a scheme for the B4044 Community Path is ready to submit to future funding opportunities as they arise, where the scheme meets the criteria. By having a ‘shovel ready’ scheme, funding opportunities that have short time frames can be applied for, which is often the case with external funding sources.
We understand this change of approach will be a disappointment to those who have long campaigned to see the cycle route constructed as soon as possible. Throughout this process we will keep stakeholders engaged and seek their views as the design work progresses.