DELIVERY drivers and queues on a junction off the Oxford ring road could be the 'Achilles Heel' in a plan to create safer streets, a councillor has warned.

David Henwood, the independent Oxford City Councillor for Cowley said changes need to be made on Newman Road to make sure that plans for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in his area are long lasting.

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are schemes which use bollards or planters to turn through-roads into cul-de-sacs, with the aim of stopping people commuting by car from taking shortcuts along residential roads.

They have been rolled out in other parts of the UK in the wake of lockdown, with some proving contentious, though none have yet begun in Oxford.

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That could soon change, with Oxfordshire County Council committed to implementing three LTNs in Church Cowley, Temple Cowley and Florence Park before March 2021 as a trial.

But to make sure there is 'buy-in' from locals, city councillor Mr Henwood said changes need to be made on one particular street called Newman Road.

He said: "I think it is crucial we get this right. It is the Achilles Heel of the whole scheme at the moment.

"I think we need to look at that junction and make it safe to be able to turn right."

Oxford Mail:

David Henwood crossing the junction, which he says is also dangerous for cyclists. Picture: Ed Nix

The junction in question is where Newman Road, a residential street, meets the A4158 or Oxford Road as it comes off the Littlemore Roundabout.

Once plans for the Church Cowley LTN are put in place later this year, Mr Henwood thinks that there could be problems at the junction.

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It would be the only route large delivery vans like HGVs could use to reach the Co-op on Littlemore Road, as other current routes would be blocked by modal filters.

One however on Bartholomew Road would be guarded by an automatic number plate recognition camera instead, and would act as a kind of 'bus gate' similar to those in the city centre, allowing through only public transport at peak times of the day.

Mr Henwood suggested that exemptions could be made for delivery vehicles to use this road during the day too.

He also said that changes should be made to Newman Road to make sure that HGVs could get around the corner of the junction easily, preventing tailbacks onto the Littlemore Roundabout, which could in turn cause more congestion on the ring road.

The councillor said: "If we can get a pelican crossing out there, remove the traffic calming measures installed a few years back, I think larger vehicles will be able to turn on to Newman Road, without making that junction suffer."

Oxford Mail:

A map of the Church Cowley LTN with the Newman Road junction circled, and arrows plotting a route for Co-op deliveries. Picture: OCC

The councillor has also tried to demonstrate the difficulties of turning on right onto Newman Road by driving a minivan around the corner in a YouTube video.

In another video, he has also demonstrated the difficulties cyclists face trying to turn right as they leave Newman Road to travel into central Oxford.

Oxfordshire County Council, which is overseeing the plans for the LTNs and manages roads throughout the county, is currently making final tweaks to the plan before rollout.

A council spokesman said: "The county council recently held a survey on the proposals for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in the Cowley area of Oxford. We are currently analysing all feedback given to us from those that responded."

The three LTNs were first touted in the aftermath of the first lockdown in June, as part of national changes to the road network to encourage more people to use bikes, to walk and to use public transport in place of cars.

They were initially due to be rolled out in the summer, but after a delay the county council promised they would be finished by March 2021, the end of the financial year.

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A consultation on the plans took place between November of December, with residents able to give their opinions on them.

Once rolled out, they will remain in place for six months, and could be extended beyond that if they are received well.

Plans for a separate Low Traffic Neighbourhood are also being mooted in Jericho and Walton Manor as a solution to a stalemate over the closure of Walton Street.

There are also plans for similar schemes in other parts of the city including Headington, funded by Government cash, and a map of 'potential LTNs' exists for every neighbourhood in Oxford.

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