East Oxford and Cowley LTNs to lose some bollards at end of April

East Oxford and Cowley LTNs to lose some bollards at end of April

At the end of April, the County Council will remove bollards and replace them with ANPR cameras on the following roads:

  • Divinity Road
  • James Street
  • Magdalen Road
  • Crescent Road
  • Littlehay Road
  • Littlemore Road

The decisions to do this were taken at Council meetings on 22 June 2023 (for Cowley) and 17 October 2023 (for East Oxford).

The removal of bollards and replacment with ANPR in the East Oxford and Cowley LTNs, happening largely as a result of lobbying by taxi companies, means that the following types of motor vehicles will be allowed to use the affected roads as through-routes:

  • Taxis
  • Private hire vehicles
  • Emergency service vehicles
  • Local authority waste vehicles
  • Royal Mail vehicles (as a 'universal service provider')

Along with, of course, any other drivers who don’t notice the signs/cameras, are willing to risk a fine or have fake or obscured number plates – all of whom are likely to be more dangerous/less law-abiding drivers.

From a Headington perspective, the loss of bollards in the East Oxford LTNs, particularly on Divinity Road, is a concerning setback for enabling safe active travel between Headington and East Oxford, particularly for children and families.

Cheney School pupils have been some of the prime beneficiaries of the East Oxford LTNs, as they have created invaluable safe walking and cycling routes for children who live in East Oxford to get to and from Cheney School.

Currently Cheney School pupils are cycling daily on these roads, in safety, having fun and chatting with friends, travelling independently, without harassment from drivers – an ability that is known to be vital for young people's development, independence and physical and mental health (e.g. see this recent study.

We are concerned that this decision, which will remove the physical protection and enable significant numbers of both exempted and non-exempted/illegal vehicles to use these roads as quick cut-through routes once again, poses an unreasonable and unjustifiable risk to the safety of children and other vulnerable road users, including, in particular, Cheney School pupils – with Divinity Road and Magdalen Road being key safe cycling routes to Cheney School.

See our previous post, East Oxford low traffic neighbourhoods here to stay but less safe for more background and commentary on the problems with the decision to remove bollards.

As pointed out by a local school governor in this blog, the school run is the biggest safeguarding risk of all.

If you are concerned by these changes to the LTNs, please consider emailing Cllr Andrew Gant, Cabinet Member for Transport Management (andrew.gant@oxfordshire.gov.uk) and copying in local councillors Jemima Hunt (cllrjhunt@oxford.gov.uk) and Mohamed Fadlalla (mohamed.fadlalla@oxfordshire.gov.uk) for Divinity Road and Chris Jarvis (cllrcjarvis@oxford.gov.uk), Emily Kerr (cllrekerr@oxford.gov.uk) and Damian Haywood (damian.haywood@oxfordshire.gov.uk) for Magdalen Road and James Street to express your concerns.

The Council's official webpages about the East Oxford and Cowley LTNs can be found here (East Oxford) and here (Cowley).