PARTS of a controversial transport plan in Oxford hinge on whether the county council gets the funding it needs to continue.

The £12.5m Access to Headington project aims to deliver a number of improvements to roads – but its third phase, due to start this month, was postponed last week.

Oxfordshire County Council has said it will now need to wait until the Oxfordshire Growth Board meets next Thursday to see whether it will be handed money to complete the project as planned.

The council said it might otherwise need to scale back work to ensure the scheme can come in on budget.

Last week the county council said it wanted ‘more certainty over costs, utility diversions and technical issues’ before starting the third phase but did not say that it would be seeking money from the Growth Board.

In a written answer to a question by Headington & Quarry councillor Roz Smith published on Tuesday, the council’s cabinet member for environment Yvonne Constance said she is hopeful the project will finish as planned despite the delay.

Mrs Constance wrote: “We agree that the current pause is regrettable but given the importance of the objectives of the scheme, the project, which has gone through significant consultation already, will proceed.”

She added that the ‘exact nature’ of the programme will be determined on whether the Growth Board gives the county council money to ‘proceed as planned or view the design to ensure affordability within budget’.

The project proposes junction improvements, new cycle lanes and crossings, new pedestrian crossings, changes to on-street parking, new bus lanes and road widening in some places.

Work on the third and final phase of Access to Headington had been scheduled to begin on Monday – but was called off on January 16.

The council had been preparing to start work on Headley Way, outside the John Radcliffe Hospital, and on the Marsh Lane junction. It hopes that a new start date will be settled by early February.

Visitors to the John Radcliffe Hospital had been warned that it could take an hour to get through traffic created by the work.

Ms Smith urged a re-think on plans to reintroduce traffic lights on Headley Way by replacing mini roundabouts – and said ploughing on regardless was ‘absolutely crazy’.

She said: “I think it’s just a very weird way of doing things. I am shocked (the council) won’t take a second look at the designs. We used to have lights on Headley Way and they were taken out because the traffic backed up there. We’re talking 20 years ago. And the volume of traffic has increased. It’s absolutely crazy not to take a second look and a breather.”

A city councillor will hand a petition backed by 200 people to the county council tomorrow as he seeks to ramp up his opposition to part of the plan.

Mick Haines collected the signatures over three days in opposition to another part of the plan, this time for Cherwell Drive in Marston, which seeks to install a set of traffic lights in place of its mini roundabouts.

He was initially in favour but changed his mind because he said mini roundabouts installed in Frideswide Square had made motorists’ lives easier since they were built in 2015.

Access to Headinton work on The Slade is expected to be finished by mid-February. That includes providing a new bike path. Parking restrictions, including problems with motorists parking on bike paths, will then be enforced.

Work on Churchill Drive and Roosevelt Drive is also complete, ‘except some minor tweaks and corrections’.