RESIDENTS who want to see Walton Street in Oxford reopened to traffic have been explaining their position to highways bosses.

Last year, following resurfacing work, the county council decided to close the street at its junction with Worcester Street and Beaumont Street while consulting residents on the ‘experimental’ closure, which could last for 18 months.

While some residents are in favour of the closure - a group called Don’t Choke Jericho! last month staged a Christmas-themed demo at the barriers - others are not at all keen.

Oxford Mail:

A group of residents called Jericho Connections is now urging council bosses to reopen the route to traffic while baseline traffic data is gathered and collated.

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A spokesman for Jericho Connections said the group has been working hard to get the street reopened.

The spokesman added: “Jericho Connections realises that Oxford suffers significant traffic issues that need to be sustainably addressed both locally and in a more global context.

“We do not disagree with the aims of the county council to improve air quality, reduce congestion, discourage rat runs and create a better environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

“We do not, however, feel that this closure has been implemented in the proper manner and that without baseline data it will be impossible to effectively prove that the closure has been successful in meeting those aims or that it benefits the community as a whole.”

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The spokesman said its members have attended a meeting with a county council manager responsible for transport – in conjunction with representatives from St Bernard’s Road - to present concerns about the impact of the road closure on the backstreets of Jericho, which are ‘experiencing an increase in HGV traffic’.

Oxford Mail:

The group claims there is increased traffic in St Bernard’s Road, Observatory Street, Little Clarendon Street, and Leckford Road.

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Residents on both sides of the argument have gathered names for petitions.

Oxford Mail:

Don’t Choke Jericho! spokesman Jamie Hartzell said earlier he hoped representatives of the two groups would attend a meeting at the start of the year to discuss the issue further.