HL Deb 27 February 1957 vol 202 cc76-7

2.58 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the widespread agreement expressed in this House during the debate on Oxford traffic on 13th February, and outside by responsible organisations of local opinion, that it is urgently necessary to complete the Oxford by-pass ring roads before other related problems can be objectively considered, they will authorise the necessary work upon these roads to be commenced forthwith.]


My Lords, an Order establishing the line of the western section of the Oxford ring road was made last December. Preparation of engineering details has now been authorised and it is hoped that construction will begin next year. I am glad to be able to inform your Lordships that financial approval has just been given for the eastern by-pass, and I hope that the Oxford City and County Councils will be able to start work soon. The proposed road to the South of Oxford between Sandford and South Hinksey, which includes the remaining section of the ring road, was the subject of a draft Order published last September. An objection has been lodged, and certain representations have been made about the proposed line of this road. These are now being considered.


My Lords, will the noble Lord accept my thanks for his reply, and my assurance that it will be received with great satisfaction by those who have laboured so long to achieve the end he has just announced? May I ask him whether the House may take his reply to my Question as an earnest of the Government's desire to treat this as a matter of high national importance, which was the note running through the speech of the noble Marquess the Leader of the House during the debate to which my Question refers?

There is one last question I should like to put. Will the noble Lord see that the rest of this ring road is not so long delayed as the one he has just mentioned, the western by-pass? I take it that what is meant by his reply regarding that road is that it will take exactly twelve years from the date of authorisation to the date of completion.


My Lords, the answer to the noble Lord's first supplementary question is, "Yes". The answer to his second supplementary question is that I will do my best, so far as I am concerned, to see that it does not take quite so long.


My Lords, I am sure the whole House is anxious that these roads should proceed. If I understood the noble Lord aright, he said that, though authority had been given and the plans were out for the first of these roads, construction would not start until next year. Remembering the speed with which things were done in the war, and remembering, too, that we are now only at the beginning of this year, surely it should be possible to begin construction on this road before the beginning of next year.


My Lords, the trouble is that much of the route lies across land which is liable to floods, and this means that a considerable length of the road will have to be built on embankment. About thirteen bridges will be required, and it may be necessary to construct a viaduct at the crossing of the River Thames, the canal, and a railway, which lie within a distance of about 500 yards. I am certain that those concerned will press on as speedily as they can, but that work will obviously take a little time.


Returned from the Commons, agreed to.

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