EVEN more bus gates on top of recently discussed ones could be set up in Oxford, if a bid for government cash submitted last week is successful.

A public consultation on placing new bus gates at Worcester Street and South Parks Road finished on the weekend, after more than 7,200 people submitted their opinions on the plans.

This would add to existing bus gates on the High Street, George Street and Castle Street, which fine cars for driving through it at peak times.

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Now, two more bus gates are proposed for Cowley Road and Warneford Lane in East Oxford, a measure which one business owner said could 'finish off' some of the areas shops and restaurants.

Others have expressed concern that the 'lack of communication' about the plans could make them unpopular.

A briefing received by Oxfordshire county councillors, shared with the Oxford Times, shows how the new measures would be funded by a bid for travel cash from the Department for Transport.

Oxfordshire County Council lost out on half of its first bid for funding from the DfT's emergency active travel fund, receiving £298,500 of an expected £597,000.

The council was told its bid to improve cycle lanes in rural areas did not meet the criteria of the scheme.

In its second bid for £2.38m it has focussed on the urban areas of Oxford, Witney and Bicester.

Oxford Mail:

A presentation of what the proposals for Oxford would include, given to county councillors.

Alongside the bus gates in Oxford, there are proposals to boost cycling in Headington and Cowley, Littlemore and Rose Hill.

As part of this, a new local traffic neighbourhood, where cars would be slowed down by street furniture, is proposed for Headington.

In Bicester and Witney, a series of traffic calming measures are proposed, including 20mph speed limits, and 'filters' to slow cars on some roads and encourage walking and cycling.

Oxfordshire County Council has stressed that all the proposals are in their very early stages, and confirmed that they would only go ahead if the government agrees to fund them.

A spokesman for the council said: "Plans for the second round of allocation for the DfT Active Travel Grant were submitted last week. It should be noted that all plans at this stage are proposals and would require full engagement before any implementation."

He added: "It should be understood that they [bus gates] are planned within a much bigger context of a comprehensive plan to help reduce traffic, increase bus use and to make roads and routes more accessible and safer to use for cyclists within these... plans."

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Some businesses in Oxford City Centre have said new bus gates could kill their trade, and on Cowley Road there was a similar reaction from some shopkeepers.

Gary Winkfield, owner of Powell's Design Kitchen and Bathrooms, said: "I would imagine this could be the end of some businesses on Cowley Road."

He said he understood the reasoning behind a push towards cleaner transport but added that a bus gate may put off customers of his who travel in from outside the city.

Mr Winkfield added: "I cannot see them driving to a park and ride then catching a bus or two here to come look at something for ten minutes or so."

But Magdalena Kurt, a manager at Ticktock Cafe on Cowley Road disagreed.

Ms Kurt said she thought the new bus gate could lead to more people eating out on Cowley Road, in a similar manner to George Street in the city centre, and said cars could use Iffley Road for a 'parallel' journey through East Oxford instead.

Oxford Mail:

The High Street bus gate

The travel bid was submitted to the government on Friday (August 7) and the council expects to hear back in early September.

Some groups have criticised the county council's lack of communication on the plans.

Chris Church of Oxford Friends of the Earth said: "For those of us who want to see a reasonable discussion of how traffic is managed, to see things like this bus gate on Cowley Road is exasperating. These changes need to be done with people."

Mr Church said people would lose faith in the schemes if they were rushed out and did not have the chance to have their say on them in a similar way to the Worcester Street and South Parks Road bus gates.

He added: "We cannot have a sensible discussion about them if we don't know what is going on."

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Alison Hill, the chairman of Oxford cycling lobby group Cyclox has also criticised the council for not having invited the group to help make the bid.

Layla Moran MP had written to the council's leader Ian Hudspeth last month, calling on him to invite cycling groups like Cyclox to help write the bid.

But a council spokesman said that short deadline they were presented with by government meant they did not have time to invite outside groups to help write it.