The thick blue line

The 5 kilometre “health route” for walkers, joggers and runners, marked by a prominent blue line through Langford, is an NHS England initiative and part of the Bicester Healthy New Town program. The Langford Village Community Association supports the aim of encouraging a healthier lifestyle and had initially discussed the 5k route through Langford with CDC officials involved in the planning, but was not informed of the route marking plan.

Like many Langford residents, the LVCA is very disappointed with the implementation of this scheme. The “NHS blue” choice of colour relates to NHS involvement in this scheme, but the blue line looks completely out of place running through open grassland, tree-lined paths and close to houses.

LVCA has since had further discussion with CDC officials, who were sympathetic to these concerns. LVCA committee members Richard Kingshott and Richard Ponsford have produced separate, informative reports covering the problems caused by poorly conceived implementation of the Langford 5k route, with suggestions for improvements. These can be downloaded below:

Report 1: Langford Village footways and shared-use links
Report 2: The thin/thick/thin blue line

The lessons learned from the Langford response will hopefully prevent any recurrence of these problems in other areas. Additional 5k health routes are planned for east Bicester, including Skimmingdish Lane and west Bicester, including Bure Park.