A BID to shut off the Wantage to Oxford road for up to six months has been blocked.

Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth announced last night on Twitter the council had refused the application from Network Rail to close the A338 from February 10 for electrification works.

Residents and politicians had protested against the plan, arguing the closure would cause traffic chaos as the 13,000 journeys made on the road every day would have to be diverted.

Mr Hudspeth tweeted yesterday: “Good meeting with @edvaizey re A338 I told him OCC have turned downs the plans for the road closure & will work with them to find a solution.”

Oxford Mail:

County council leader Ian Hudspeth

He was not available for comment last night but the county’s transport boss David Nimmo Smith said he was not surprised by the decision and said Network Rail should pay for a temporary bridge to get the road closed.

He said: “They have to think beyond their railway line.”

Wantage and Grove campaign group leader Julie Mabberley last night welcomed the news, but said she was only “temporarily relieved”.

She said: “Network Rail has to electrify that line and if we can get the temporary bridge we want, we would be very relieved.”

Network Rail needs to rebuild the bridge, and 27 others in Oxfordshire, in order to make room for electric overhead wires as part of its £1bn electrification project of the London to Bristol main line.

The firm would not comment last night.