East Oxford is set to turn into a 'Mini Holland' under schemes being lined up across Oxfordshire aimed at giving cyclists and pedestrians priority over motorists. 

A county council bid for up to £15 million of Government funds will also include an effort to make it easier for family doctors to 'socially prescribe' walking and cycling on safer streets.

It marks a stepping up for the proposed Low Traffic Neighbourhood already on the drawing board for East Oxford as Mini Hollands intend to make areas as cycle and pedestrian-friendly as their Dutch equivalents.

The Department for Transport is looking for 12 non-London councils to run Mini Holland projects.

Oxford County Council has decided to bid for up to £15 million from the Government which last week announced that pedestrians are to be given top priority on the roads in changes to the Highway Code. There is £239 million in the Whitehall pot.

Leader of the Conservative opposition, Cllr Eddie Reeves (Banbury Calthorpe) demanded an apology from cabinet member, Cllr Tim Bearder.

Cllr Bearder had called opponents of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods a 'noisy minority' at a recent full council. 

Cllr Reeves said: “My only objection has been the lack of contrition displayed by Cllr Bearder. 

He added: “I hope all members of the cabinet will recognise the concerns of residents really do need to be heard.

“Please do not implement any further schemes without addressing the concerns that have been raised quite validly by people in recent days. Their voices deserve to be heard.

“I hope the current administration will do better than the last.”

Cllr Tim Bearder (Lib Dem, Wheatley) the cabinet member for highway management hit back.

“In response to contrition, this comes from a man who referred to speakers at a previous council meeting, when he was in charge, as a ‘random assortment of malcontents and ne’er-do-wells’ 

“But I want to make it perfectly clear to the public that no offence was meant and I apologise to anybody who did take offence to my remarks at the last full council.”

And he added: “I sincerely hope the new administration will do better than the last – frankly it is hard to do worse.”

Background papers presented to the meeting listed schemes throughout Oxfordshire, including in Abingdon, Banbury, Bicester, Didcot, as well as Oxford city. 

The cabinet agreed to bid for the Department for Transport Active Travel Fund Tranche 3 by the deadline of August 9.