BETTER cycling access to Oxford station to avoid the "dreadful" Botley Road bridge could be neglected as a £75m revamp has been delayed, campaigners feared.

Rail and cycling groups met with Great Western Railway last week to discuss plans to improve access to both Oxford and Didcot Parkway railway stations.

Consultancy firm Atkins, which been commissioned by GWR to develop 20 stations across its network including Oxford, has made a number of suggestions to improve access for cyclists, such as barriers on the west side of the station from Botley Road, improved signage and more bike racks.

But Andrew McCallum, secretary of the area's Railfuture branch, is concerned because the major overhaul of the station will not take place until beyond 2019 at the earliest, there will be a reluctance for these smaller scale improvements.

He said: "There were some really simple suggestions to improve things for pedestrian and cyclists.

"More cycle racks, better signage to show cyclists which routes to use and even more cycle racks.

"My concern is how much short term investment will be made available as in a few years the whole station will undergo redevelopment."

In December the line between Oxford and Oxford Parkway will open and two trains per hour will run to London Marylebone and Mr McCallum said improved access may be needed to deal with increased demand.

Simon Hunt, chairman of cycling campaign group Cyclox, said the future redevelopment could "undercut" much-needed short term measure but that Friday's meeting was positive.

He said: "The meeting overall was positive and a number of our suggestions were taken on board and we will wait to hear back.

"People on bikes coming from the west of Oxford, Botley or even as far as Eynsham have to go under the dreadful Botley Road bridge, up towards Frideswide Square and back into the station.

"If they are going north they then have to travel back across the bridge - if ticket barriers were installed on the other side it would be so much easier.

"It all depends on cost of course and whether the rail operators are prepared to pay for it.

"But the number of people using that barrier could filter into the masterplan for the station - so it would be worth doing."

Mr Hunt also said a sign discouraging cyclists from using the Botley Road footbridge was "unnecessary" and called for better publicity of the station's canal route.

He said: "The path along the canal from the station isn't very well publicised at all and a few simple signs would change that.

"It would get cyclists off the roads and away from the traffic of Frideswide Square."

Network Rail has said it is in talks but not confirmed whether there will be any short term improvements.

Spokesman Sean Dean said: "At the moment funding discussions are still ongoing with the council re the station masterplan.

"Meetings have taken place with Andrew recently and Network Rail are presenting at the Railfuture meeting on the 16th of November about all things Oxford."

Great Western Railway failed to respond to a request for comment.