Oxford council ignores hundreds of furious protesters as temporary nuisance eco traffic measures made permanent

bollards in a street in Cowley near Oxford

Bollards in a street in Cowley near Oxford, to create a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN)

Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 18/10/2023

- 19:00

Updated: 19/10/2023

- 17:07

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) will be made permanent in East Oxford

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in East Oxford are being made permanent, despite a huge backlash from protesters.

The decision was made by Oxford Council yesterday to extend the controlling traffic measure scheme, which has been in trial since May 2022.

The council’s choice to make the LTNs permanent comes despite fierce opposition from householders, business owners, and some councillors.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside County Hall, whilst some attended the meeting inside.

WATCH NOW: Nigel Farage on LTNs

The meeting lasted for over three hours, and over 30 people were registered to speak.

Those against the LTNs included Alexandra West, bursar of Magdalen College School, and Clinton Pugh, a restaurateur who is also father to famous actress Florence Pugh.

West said that the scheme was a hindrance to her school who was trying to recruit staff, whilst Pugh said that he had seen a “huge decline in business” in the impacted area.

Pugh slammed the council, saying: “You haven't listened, you haven't engaged… basically this is a misconduct in public office.”


Those in support of the LTNs included James Schumann of Divinity Road Area Residents Association, who said the scheme had encouraged more children to walk and cycle to school.

Highways chief Andrew Grant said that the schemes which limit traffic provide better travel alternatives for Oxford residents.

He said: “We have all got too used to the idea that road space is something we can help ourselves to - as much of it as we would like, whenever we like.

“That it is somehow free, that we can have it whenever we want, like breathing the air. It is not. It is a finite resource and it is full.”

At the meeting, it was announced that the wooden bollards signalling entrance into the LTNs will be replaced with Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras.

Taxis, emergency services, bin lorries and post vans will now be allowed through.

\u200bThe scheme was introduced in East Oxford in May 2022

The scheme was introduced in East Oxford in May 2022


The meeting was rowdy and council leader Liz Leffman warned she would end the meeting if people did not quieten down.

“You're not doing your own cause much good by shouting at people when they're making their representation,” she said.

After the decision was made, Tory councillor Liam Walker called the move a “kick in the teeth”.

Speaking to GB News, Walker said that the council are "pressing ahead with their ideologies that they don't like cars".

He stated that LTNs have been contested not only by the Conservatives, but also by local business owners and bus drivers.

Walker mentioned an 18-page document local bus drivers signed, outlining arguments against the LTNs, mainly stating that they caused congestion.

However, Grant said that now that the area had gotten used to LTNs, there was no going back.

He said: “It is about giving people options and choices, and the ambition for everybody to get in their own car has run its course because the roads are full…

“Going back is not realistic. There are plenty of us here who remember what Divinity Road was like with cars parked on both sides and cars trying to go in both directions…

“Our job as a highways authority is to give people alternatives which are better for Oxford as a city and the individuals who are making those choices.”

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