A few years after GCC Highways repaired the bed of the ford and laid concrete, it became increasingly slippery from the algae which inevitably grew, especially in the spring and summer when its growth was active.
Some time prior to 2015 a local cycling resident started urging Highways to cure the problem. Correspondence was protracted and spasmodic, mainly due to the resident’s work commitments. However, by 2015 other members of Newent Cycling Group were becoming involved in the issue, and a schedule of known accidents, injury and otherwise, was commenced. The earliest known accident was in 2005.
The subsequent story is one of continuing prevarication by Highways. Despite fine words and numerous site meetings with a succession of Area Managers, nothing constructive was achieved.
In May 2018 the Newent Cycling Group committee formally confirmed their earlier advice that all rides under their auspices should be banned from using Oxenhall Lane, which was a shame because the lane is otherwise a delightful route for travelling west from Newent. However, the safety of riders was considered to be paramount.
In January 2018 Gorsley & Kilcot Parish Council had taken up the cudgels in support, but to no avail. However recently, thanks to the enthusiasm and experience of one of the councillors, greater attention is at last being given by Highways to this safety issue. Following the undertaking of a farcical feasibility study, identifying £72,000 as the likely cost of a footbridge beside the ford, a more sensible approach has been adopted by the Public Rights of Way team at GCC. The budgeted cost of £19,800 plus VAT still seems very high, but plans are currently in hand to raise half that sum from non-GCC sources, in the hopes that GCC will match fund and that the bridge can be constructed in 2022.