LEADERS at Oxfordshire County Council have been accused of standing in the way of improvements to Oxford’s cycling infrastructure.

Oxford City Council had set aside £840,000 to be spent on the city’s cycling network by 2016, but in July the Oxford Mail revealed that only £15,000 had been spent.

Since then city councillor John Tanner, the executive board member for cleaner, greener Oxford, has been encouraging people to submit their ideas for what the money can be spent on.

But he has now said that transport authority, the county council, is preventing the schemes from going ahead – something the county council has denied.

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The Labour councillor said: “People are still writing in with their ideas and there is no lack of schemes being proposed but the county council is standing in the way and they are putting an embargo on any cycle schemes which is unfortunate.

“It is because the county council is consulting on a new transport strategy and they have said that until it is agreed they don’t want to waste money.

“But there are some schemes we can spend the money on and it is my hope that we will be able to do so.”

Mr Tanner said that the city council will be working on schemes where it owns the land and does not need approval from the county council – such as in Oxford’s parks – while the “embargo” is in place.

Last week the city council finished resurfacing two cycle lanes in Oxford, one in Hinksey Park and another in Meadow Lane, where it also removed a barrier.

The county council has to put together a transport plan which sets out the infrastructure improvements it wants to see happen over the coming years. A new one is being drawn up and is expected to be complete by March 2015.

Simon Hunt, chairman of cycling group Cyclox, said: “It is obviously not helpful for cycling if money that could be spent is being delayed because of a policy of waiting to see what the big picture is. This is really very silly and disadvantaging people who want to cycle.”

County council spokesman Dominic Llewellyn-Jones said: “The county council have placed no embargo on the city bringing forward any cycling infrastructure improvements.

“If the city want to come forward with cycling schemes we will gladly consider them but it is of course important to see how they would fit within our plans for the wider city.”

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