Plan for £6m River Thames bridge on Oxford approved

Map of new bridge plans Image copyright Oxford City Council/ David Lock Associates
Image caption The bridge will link the city centre with Osney Mead Industrial Estate

Plans for a £6m bridge to be built over the River Thames in Oxford have been agreed.

Oxford City Council committed the funds from the Oxfordshire Growth Deal towards the bridge, which will link Oxpens and Osney Mead.

Cycling groups have protested saying the money could have gone towards improving cycle lanes.

But the council said a further £1m would be spent on such routes lanes in Headington, Marston, and other areas.

The authority will allocate £300,000 towards a feasibility study to work out where the best place to put the bridge is, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Open to both cyclists and pedestrians, the bridge will cross the Thames at Oxpens Meadow and link the city centre with Osney Mead Industrial Estate.

The estate is to be redeveloped by the university into a science and business park.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The council will allocate £300,000 to work out where the best place to put the bridge is

Green councillor Dick Wolff, speaking at a meeting that was held virtually, described the bridge as "very controversial' within the Oxford cycling lobby.

He said: "With the Covid-19 theme there is quite a lot of energy about schemes which really need to be rolled out quickly in response to that.

"It may be that this is an opportunity to do other things which might be better."

Five-year £150m plan

But council leader Susan Brown said the money was specifically allocated for the bridge, as infrastructure to support new homes in the city.

The growth deal was announced in the November 2017 Budget, providing £150m for infrastructure improvements over a five-year period.

Lib Dem opposition leader Andrew Gant asked if there were any worries the money might be "clawed back" if the project was not complete in that time.

Ms Brown said she was "keen to spend this money as quickly as possible" but whether the original timetable could be met would be looked at "over the next few months".

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