'Shame on you!' Oxford councillor sparks fury after attacking businesses struggling with council's eco-rules

Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) sign in Cowley near Oxford.

Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) sign in Cowley near Oxford.

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 06/12/2023

- 15:19

An independent councillor appeared to take a swipe at a certain local business on social media

A councillor has sparked fury on social media after refusing to support businesses which have been struggling due to Oxford’s eco-rules.

Damian Haywood, an independent councillor representing Iffley Fields & St Mary’s, was accused of “criticising” struggling businesses.

A trader said to him: “Shame on you.”

Taking to social media on Small Business Saturday, Haywood revealed he would not support traders who publicly criticised Oxford’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

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He said: “Today I will be supporting small businesses Small Business Saturday.

“But I will not be supporting those who have openly publicised their hatred of our public health measures, especially prior to opening??!!

“Why do that? It alienates customers, which affects your revenue.”

Bigfoot, a new bar in Cowley Road, posted its disapproval of the policy just before, confirming it “hates LTNs”.

Cllr Damian Haywood

Cllr Damian Haywood


However, Haywood claimed he purposely did not name the business in his posts.

Restaurateur Clinton Pugh, who claims he lost one of his three businesses in Cowley Road because of the LTNs, criticised Haywood's comments.

“We’re not relying on him (Haywood) anyway,” he told The Oxford Mail

“He has done nothing in this time to help us. He hasn’t visited us.

“So he’s saying either we agree with him, or he doesn’t support our business. Shame on you, Mr Haywood. What a thing to say.”

Bollards have been placed in a street in Cowley near Oxford

Bollards have been placed in a street in Cowley near Oxford


Another user said on social media: “Why post criticising businesses who are already struggling with genuine concerns?

“You're proving everything they say - if they have a different opinion to you they're ignored and belittled and you refuse to engage with them.

“It's your job to represent all of your residents.”

Responding to the situation, Haywood said: “I want to get across that I think it was unwise to alienate a potential customer base, many of the local community support LTNs and for one establishment to come out against them is unwise from a business perspective…

“They clearly see a business opportunity on the Cowley Road, and why would they try to undermine that.

“I wish them well and I hope they change their opinion.”

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