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Temporary bus gates plan in Oxford set to be thrown out

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image copyrightGoogle
image captionThe councils had mooted using one of the bus gates on South Parks Road in Oxford city centre

A plan to ban cars from parts of Oxford city centre are set to be dropped after a backlash from the public.

Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council wanted to install temporary bus gates in Hythe Bridge Street or Worcester Street and in St Cross Road or South Parks Road.

County councillors have been advised to ditch the project after thousands of people opposed the £400,000 plan.

The city council still wants the bus gates to go ahead.

The temporary measures had been proposed to "assist Oxford's recovery from the coronavirus and allow more road space for cyclists and pedestrians".

More than 7,200 people responded to a consultation, which is thought to be the highest response ever to one run by the county council.

Overall, 46% of people said they thought the installation of bus gates was a bad idea.

Meanwhile 35% said the plan was a good idea and 15% said they thought it was good but were "concerned about the details".

County councillors will be asked to axe the plan at a meeting on 13 October.

County 'U-turn'

Tom Hayes, the city council's deputy leader, said the current plans would "create the opportunity to pedestrianise more city centre streets to support the hospitality sector, which is on its knees".

He said the local authority was "disappointed" over what he called a "U-turn" by his county council counterparts.

Other bus gates are already used in Oxford in High Street, George Street and Castle Street.

The introduction of the city centre's Zero Emissions Zone also is set to be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The first stage could now be rolled out in summer 2021, with a second, larger stage expected to follow in 2023.

Other bus gates due to be installed on Hollow Way and Marston Ferry Road as part of the councils' wider Connecting Oxford plan are still expected to go ahead.

image copyrightOxford City Council
image captionThe councils' red zone is now not likely to come into force until at least summer 2021

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