THE case for a designated cycling and walking path between Oxford and neighbouring villages is strengthening, campaigners claim.

Bikesafe, a group which has long called for a safe path to be built on the 'dangerous' B4044 between Botley, Farmoor and Eynsham is on the cusp of applying for planning permission for the much talked-about scheme.

County council leader Ian Hudspeth and MP Robert Courts were among the 60-70 people to view plans for the 'community path' at a consultation event in Farmoor on Saturday.

A further event is due to be held in Eynsham on Thursday and Ian Leggett, the chairman of Bikesafe, said he was 'blown away' by the interest so far.

He said: "It has far exceeded my expectations. You do not know how many people are going to come to these things but we've had lots of helpful suggestions.

"We want to listen and hear all opinions, concerns and ideas to make this path as good as it can be."

Volunteers have raised £150,000 and commissioned their own studies and designs to show the 5km path, which would cater for cyclists, walkers and those with mobility scooters, is viable and could operate without disrupting traffic.

They estimate the savings made from public health could mean the path will pay for itself within four years.

Eynsham is currently ear-marked as the location for 2,200 new homes and the proposed path was included in Oxfordshire County Council's bid for Government funding for infrastructure submitted last year.

Bikesafe is applying for planning permission in the hope that the scheme will be 'oven-ready' if and when this funding comes through.

Alongside the two events, comments can be submitted online as the group attempt to collect as broad a range of opinions as possible to inform their plans.

Concerns have previously been raised by residents living on the route that access to their homes could be impacted.

Mr Leggett added: "Before we start building houses, we've got to make sure the infrastructure is in place so people do not have years of misery.

"With a designated path, we can take 10-20 per cent of cars off the road, leaving everyone who needs to drive the room to move around more freely so everybody benefits."