BicesterBUG

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Four Years of Brilliant Collaboration
6th June 2024

Four Years of Brilliant Collaboration

BBUG started delivering books for Coles on 12th June 2020, the Covid summer, as a way of helping a local business to compete with the big national companies whose model of internet shopping without the need to venture out into the dangerous world seemed so attractive. By delivering for free we could minimise the cost to Coles and their customers and at the same time demonstrate what a good tool the bike is for many day to day journeys.

The numbers will show that we have saved a useful amount of vehicle fuel and prevented some congestion by using a low carbon alternative to the motor vehicle over four years. But what they will not describe are the broader benefits delivered with every book:

Everyone wins. Coles is able to charge a bit less for home delivery, the customer pays a bit less and we get some useful exercise and a chance to promote our favourite mode of transport. I have been offered a cup of tea on a rainy day and people often comment on how hardy I must be to be out and about. I reply that you stay pleasantly warm due to the exercise and a proper soaking is pretty rare. They don’t often seem convinced. I wish they’d try it because it’s true!

As a newcomer it helped me to get to know my way round Bicester. If it’s a bird it’s probably Langford, if it’s a poet it must be westwards. A tree is sure to be Southwold and an Oxford College…..

Many of our customers are elderly or find it difficult to get out and about. They seem delighted to see us and exchange a few words. I’m certain from observing my own elderly relatives that these small interactions have a real benefit, reminding people that they are members of a local community.

You pick up fascinating bits of knowledge. Did you know, for example, that some of the houses on Peregrine way have names not numbers? This is partly to confound delivery people (though the champions of this art are the designers of the Garden Quarter in Caversfield) but it seemed sensible at the time because this row was occupied before the final number of houses had been decided. So the builders asked the first residents to use names to avoid future complications.

Finally, you catch wonderful glimpses of ordinary life, snapshots which linger in your mind: the lady who came to the door busily whisking her bechamel sauce so had no free hand to open the door or take the packet (we both laughed), the exclamation in early January, “this must be Grandad’s Christmas present. We’d better wait until he wakes up before we open it”, the curious but timid barefoot child and dog peeping out behind the parent as the door opens.

If you are interested get in touch and give it a try.

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How do you solve a problem like London Road?
23rd October 2022

How do you solve a problem like London Road?

The London Road level crossing in Bicester is on its way to be closed most of the time when the next phase of East West Rail (EWR) from Bicester to Bletchley and beyond becomes active.  The company responsible for the development of the line therefore wants to find alternatives to the level crossing.  So far EWR have considered a number of options, only one of which focuses on pedestrians, cyclists, mobility scooters and all the other plethora of non motorised traffic that crosses the railway at present. The sole option proposed for pedestrians and cyclists is a footbridge like that next to Garth Park (pictured below)

Best they can offer?

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We feel this proposal from EWR, if implemented, would prove to be hugely problematic to foot and cycle access and simply block many elderly and less mobile residents from accessing the town centre. Multiple switchbacks and a height gain equivalent of 3 storeys is the opposite of accessible but there could be a better way.

Viable, sustainable and inclusive

Inspired by the multitude of active travel underpasses used in other countries and by considering the needs of all ages and abilities of walking, cycling and scooting across the railway we put together a solution which prioritises exactly those residents overlooked by EWR and captures aspects ignored in the other proposed options.  By integrating bus, car, taxi access with simple and easy underpass for residents this is a solution that delivers for Bicester.  Below is a birds eye view of the concept in the context of the existing buildings and infrastructure.

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When viewed from the Langford/East side of the railway (see below) the gentle slope and modest depth of the underpass can be seen next to an extended parking area and bus turning area. The path segregates pedestrians from cyclists to avoid conflict and allow both to proceed at their own pace.

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On the town side the path exits the wide and airy underpass and rises into the existing bar parking avoiding impacting the existing heritage buildings at the current level crossing. From here it is a short walk cycle or scoot to Market Square and beyond.

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What now?

We are calling on EWR and the authorities to consider a serious pedestrian/cyclist option for the London Road Level crossing taking account of the obvious drawbacks of their budget footbridge option and the clear benefits of the vision we have outlined.  The people of Bicester deserve it.


Chance to be involved in Active Travel Research
22nd December 2021

Chance to be involved in Active Travel Research


Background

Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) have recently made changes to improve cycling and walking in Bicester and Witney. These include improved infrastructure (walking and cycling routes) and projects to help encourage people to try walking and cycling (e.g. bike loans, guided walks). Researchers from the University of Bristol will be conducting some research into this throughout 2022.


The study will look at how two groups of people might be encouraged to walk or cycle more instead of using the car. These groups are

a) people who commute to work

b) older adults between 65 and 75 years.


The research study will collect data throughout 2022 by conducting group discussions and individual interviews with residents of Witney and Bicester.

We are looking for up to six members of the public to work with the research team to advise on how the research is conducted.


Who can get involved?

Individuals who

  • Are interested in research
  • Live in Bicester or Witney
  • Either a) commute to work at least three days a week OR b) are aged between 65-75 years

What is required?

The role of lay panel members is to use their local knowledge and expertise to help design research tools, including recruitment notices, information sheets, and questions the research team will ask during the study.

These materials will be drafted by the research team for lay panel members to comment on. They will be sent these materials by post or email, and invited to comment and advise on how they can be improved during two  online meetings in January/February 2022.

You don’t have to be an expert on research. You will have local knowledge of Witney and Bicester, and what it is like to live there, that will help ensure the research tools are accessible and relevant.

The online meetings will last around one hour and may take place during the day, or early evening depending on  lay panel members’ preference.

The work will take around 3-4 hours in total in January/early February 2022. There will also be an opportunity for some lay panel members to remain involved with the Study Management Group throughout 2022 (though this is optional).

What reward is offered for taking part?

Lay panel members will have the opportunity to shape the research that takes place in their communities.

The University of Bristol will offer payment of £25 per hour. Payment can be by vouchers for those in receipt of state benefits (For those in receipt of state benefit confidential advice is available via the Benefits Advice Service for Involvement)


What do I do if I want to be involved?

You can find out more, or register your interest in taking part, by contacting Tricia Jessiman, the lead researcher for the study. Email Tricia.Jessiman@bristol.ac.uk

Become a member

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Current Consultations

EWR London Road Crossing
7th June 2021

EWR London Road Crossing

Recent Consultations

 DriveThru Greggs
2nd August 2021

21/02286/F DriveThru Greggs

NW Bicester Housing (EcoTown)
21st June 2021

21/01630/OUT NW Bicester Housing (EcoTown)

Banbury Road Roundabout
2nd April 2021

Banbury Road Roundabout

Housing at NW Bicester
1st April 2021

21/01630/OUT Housing at NW Bicester

Symmetry Park
21st December 2020

20/03404/F Symmetry Park