IT looks like 2014 is going to prove an interesting year in the fortunes of Oxford.
We may finally see what concrete plans there will be for the city’s railway station, how it will integrate with a bus terminus and how the ugly, unwelcoming and often traffic gridlocked Frideswide Square will be regenerated.
The commitment to redevelop Oxford’s inadequate railway station is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that must be grasped with both hands.
For a major national and international destination, Oxford is poorly served by the size of the building and the sparse number of platforms which are far from the ideal greeting for such a beautiful city.
With exciting new rail projects such as the electrification of the First Great Western Oxford route to the capital via Didcot, the redevelopment of the station is a must.
Despite increases in fares, trains remain hugely popular with people from Oxford, with passenger numbers rising a massive 103 per cent from 1997 to 2012.
With promises of an “integrated” transport “hub”, a healthy number of places must be provided for commuters to leave their bikes – though we await the number of car parking spaces with interest.
After years of talking, 2014 must see concrete and clear plans brought forward for people to give their view.
Otherwise, planners risk the public losing interest through “consultation fatigue”, which would be a tragedy for such a vitally important project.