A NEW bus route proposed to cross a nature reserve and golf course has sparked an outcry from residents and environmentalists in Headington.

The route passing across the Lye Valley and running from the Churchill Hospital to Hollow Way is included in a new Oxfordshire County Council transport document.

As well as crossing the wildlife site, the road would also run across fairways at the Oxford Golf Club off Hill Top Road.

Friends of Lye Valley will warn the council the bus lane would wreck the peace of a secluded area and be “a disaster for wildlife”.

Our top stories

It is one of the routes identified by the county council to create a so-called Eastern Arc in the Oxford Transport Strategy, out for public consultation until April 2.

The authority said it is one of a number of areas being considered for rapid transit schemes, designed to allow buses to travel around the city quicker.

But Headington residents said a detailed map suggested serious thought was being given to a link road running across a golf course fairway and the Churchill Hospital fields, part of the Lye Valley and Cowley Marsh Local Wildlife Site.

A section would run along the narrow Lye Valley Road.

Friends of Lye Valley chairwoman Judy Webb said: “This road would fragment the area, breaking wildlife corridors and isolating populations of species, making some local extinctions more likely.

“The golf course fairway next to Hollow Way that would be affected is relic limestone grassland with valuable flora, including some plants rare in England.

“The Churchill Hospital will have a huge need for more traffic access when it undergoes the massive redevelopment on the east side that is planned, not to mention the increased traffic to the Old Road Campus/Park Hospital site when redeveloped.”

Hazel Dawe, a law lecturer who lives near Lye Valley, said: “It would be an appalling thing to do to what is a quiet oasis in a busy city.

“To do it I believe would require a viaduct. It seems like someone who does not know anything about the topography of the area has looked at a map and thought, ‘this is a shorter route’.”

Alan Davey, a director of the Oxford Golf Club, said: “We are now evaluating the proposal. The club is an important amenity and an important green space.”

The course is home to Oxford City Golf Club, Oxford Ladies’ Golf Club and Oxford University Golf Club.

County council spokesman Paul Smith, said: “The idea of bus rapid transit routes in the Eastern Arc is very conceptual, with the council preferring to use existing roads.

“We will clearly explore all options.

“It is essential this work is progressed because the Eastern Arc is likely to see huge growth in employment.”