EXPERTS have claimed a tram system for Oxford could be paid for using cash from developments on the edge of the city.

The Trams for Oxford report was produced by a team headed by the award-winning planning consultant Dr Nicholas Falk and transport specialists from both of Oxford’s universities.

They proposed running trams from the Seacourt Park and Ride in Botley Road, down the High Street to Headington and on to Barton.

It was estimated the cost of that first phase would be £300m, with potential to extend the service to Kidlington, and new developments such as the Northern Gateway and the Oxford Parkway station at Water Eaton.

The report appeared as Oxford City Council this week said it believed “a tram network would attract a wider range of users than a bus-based solution”.

In its response to Oxfordshire County Council’s draft Oxford Transport Strategy, the city council warned it would be a mistake to rule out a trams scheme.

Commenting on the Falk report, city council leader Bob Price said: “We will have to increase the provision of public transport. Trams, light train routes and bus rapid transit will all have to play a part.

“The Falk report does not deal with the key issues of allocating restricted road space and construction costs. But the city council believes that there is a strong case for further and more detailed analysis of the options.”

Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth said: “We believe trams may have a role in Oxford, but it would depend on funding becoming available.

“We have to be realistic. By working with the bus companies, we could deliver something quicker.

“There would be the challenge of running trams down the High Street. And could they run down Cornmarket and Queen Street?”

Tram systems have been successfully brought into use in other European towns and cities in recent years, including Edinburgh, Oxford’s twin city Grenoble and Croydon.