Closure of key road links between Kidlington, Yarnton and Begbroke

Support Yarnton Parish Council in opposing the closure

Yarnton Parish Council are in no doubt that the Sandy Lane crossing needs to be kept open. They have launched a petition to Network Rail. Please sign and share.

Sandy Lane and Yarnton Lane Level crossing closures are part of the plan to build nearly 2500 houses on two Green Belt between Begbroke, Yarnton and Kidlington.

As part of the Local Plan Partial Review, Cherwell District Council and Network Rail came to an agreement that both Sandy Lane and Yarnton Lane should be closed to motorised vehicles. The proposal is to replace the existing level crossings with bridges for pedestrian traffic. Cycles and wheelchairs will only be able to cross at Sandy Lane. (It may be possible to push a bike over the Yarnton Lane bridge.)


Sandy Lane is a key link road link for people needing to travel to or from Kidlington from Yarnton and Begbroke and other surrounding villages such as Cassington. Closure will have an major adverse effect on being able to access schools, health services, shops and other local amenities. These concerns are being broadly dismissed as 'closing a rat run' and 'adding minimal extra journey time' - alongside talk of faster journey times, better traffic flow, reduced emissions, improved pedestrian and cycle access, all leading to health benefits etc etc etc. We know this is not the case – Cherwell District Council’s own data shows that journey times will be significantly longer.

Equally worrying are plans to close the Yarnton Lane crossing near the Turnpike Public House, which will would cut off residents in the houses beyond. It was obvious during the planning inspection public enquiry that this salient fact had not been noticed by the planners !


If Network Rail have safety concerns about the level crossings, there are alternative options. On Sandy Lane, a bridge could be constructed that maintains access for cars, cyclists and pedestrians. We would also support improvements to Sandy Lane that make this road safer for use by cyclists and pedestrians, while still maintaining a vital road link for the local community. The crossing at Yarnton Lane could mirror the crossing at Roundham Lock to facilitate easy cycling and walking access whilst maintaining access to the houses.

So if the road and level crossing closures go ahead the local community will have no direct road connection between Yarnton, Begbroke and Kidlington. Our villages will coalesce but have no road links. The new housing along Sandy Lane and Yarnton Road will become largely gated communities with access for walkers and cyclists only. The closure of Sandy Lane to vehicular traffic makes no sense and should be stopped.


The transport plan was comprehensively demolished by the Begbroke and Yarnton Green Belt Campaign (BYG) - amongst many other objections - during the Local Plan Examination in Public hearings in February 2019 and again at the Main Modifications stage.  However, this was all to no avail. The Planning Inspector did not consider that the road closures were unreasonable.


According to the Local Plan, the provision of the Sandy Lane bridge is seen as "critical" but a medium term delivery (by 2026). It also relies on the County Council & private developers for funding. Land has been set aside for a station between Sandy Lane and Roundham Lock. In August 2020, Network Rail wrote notifying selected residents that it planned to press ahead with closing the crossings. There is no mention of the promised station. It is not yet clear whether the closures might happen before any bridges are provided.  Network Rail's actions seem very premature, coming as they did before the Local Plan was approved and well before any firm housing delivery plans have been submitted.