20,000 signatures reached
To: Oxfordshire & Warwickshire County Councils
Protect the ancient Rollright Stones from road expansion
At a recent meeting of Oxfordshire County Council, the cabinet member responsible for transport endorsed the idea of re-routing HGV traffic from Chipping Norton along the Rollright Road. We call on you to take the initiative to rule out immediately upgrading the road through the Rollright Stones for HGVs, but also to initiate traffic calming measures and ban non-local HGVs from that road.
Why is this important?
The Rollright Stones have stood high on the boundary between what is now Oxfordshire and Warwickshire for more than five and a half thousand years.
Today they remain an important landmark and a place of gentle pilgrimage for many people seeking both a spiritual connection with our landscape and a place of quiet enjoyment and thoughtfulness.
The peace of the Rollright stones is now under threat from proposals to turn the quiet road that runs beside it into a major route for Heavy Goods Vehicles to bypass Chipping Norton. We need your support to convince local planners to think again and to protect the peace of the Stones now and in the future.
Visit https://www.rollrightstones.co.uk to learn more about this magnificent monument but please, sign this petition to protect them NOW!
Whilst we understand the context of addressing the HGV traffic and air quality issues in Chipping Norton, the Rollright Road is a narrow C road entirely unfit for HGV traffic, or for upgrading to a full trunk road. The option has been examined on various occasions over the last twelve years, and even without fully considering the heritage, cultural and landscape implications, it has been dismissed – most recently in 2016 concluding “this option should not be pursued for further investigation.”
Oxfordshire’s Local Transport Plan 4, West Oxfordshire’s Local Plan, the Chipping Norton Neighbourhood Plan and the DEFRA-approved Chipping Norton Air Quality Action Plan ALL propose that HGVs (other than for local purposes) should be banned from the centre of Chipping Norton and the A44 de-primed with HGVs being encouraged to use the A40 instead. Furthermore, Goal 1 of the Oxfordshire Local Transport Plan states that ‘’We will work to ensure that the transport network supports sustainable economic and housing growth in the county, whilst protecting our environmental and heritage assets, and supporting the health and wellbeing of residents.”
We are very concerned that without proactive management a significant increase in HGVs would arise using Rollright Road as a rat-run between the A44 and A344. The road passes within only 7m of the Kings Men stone circle and 30m from the King Stone. Part of the heritage and cultural value of the Stones is that in addition to c.20,000 visitors annually they are increasingly visited by school parties of 30-60 (sometimes up to 90) 7- and 8-year olds who have to cross the road. At 5m wide the road only just fits two passing HGVs, and the nearby blind crossroads at Tollhouse Cottage is notoriously dangerous. Rather than encouraging more HGV traffic passing through the Stones – whether directly or inadvertently – it should be actively discouraged.
We are concerned for the safety of people visiting the Stones, for local residents affected by inappropriate and reckless road use, as well as for the preservation of the Stones as a major cultural asset. The Rollright Trust has dedicated and very experienced trustees who have developed a very highly respected approach to managing the Stones and safeguarding them for generations to come, not just as a relic from ancient times. We hope our local Councils share this sense of responsibility and will act positively with strategic foresight to protect residents and the environment.
How it will be delivered
By Email to Oxfordshire and Warwickshire Councils