A TRAFFIC calming scheme has been called a ‘disaster’ after new data revealed that most people and businesses objected to the scheme.

A Freedom of Information request, submitted to Oxfordshire County Council has disclosed that the majority of respondents objected to plans to permanently install a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in the Cowley area.

LTNs aim to reduce through-flow traffic by stopping ‘rat runs’, reduce air pollution, and encourage active travel, by putting planters or barriers on particular streets.

The Cowley LTN, which affects Church Cowley, Temple Cowley and Florence Park was installed as a pilot scheme in March 2021.

The consultation was open between March and November of last year, and in this period over 2,400 people responded.

The combined results revealed 63 per cent of people objected to the plans, 10.8 per cent had concerns and 25.8 per cent supported the scheme.

Just five of the respondents had ‘no opinion’.

Businesses were also consulted, and the results show that a whopping 82.8 per cent of businesses objected to the scheme.

A further 29.7 per cent said they had concerns, with only 7.8 per cent supporting the plans.

Oxford City Councillor Saj Malik, who represents Temple Cowley, has said the consultation results reveal that the scheme is a ‘disaster’ and that it is not ‘viable’ for Cowley.

He said: “I have done my best to engage with the county council and the people in charge of the scheme, I have given alternative plans, and received no response.

“I always said I would respect the outcome of the consultation as this is fundamental to democracy, that we expect people to use.

“People in my ward have spoken loudly and clearly, and over 66 per cent against the LTNs, so this scheme is not viable for Cowley.

“If the county council worked with local councillors and resident’s things may have been different, but they imposed this scheme without having flexibility.”

Mr Malik added that if the council did ‘care about democracy’ it would reflect the consultation results and start removing the Cowley LTNs.

Richard Parnham, who submitted the FOI and is a spokesperson for Reconnecting Oxford, a group that has openly opposed the LTNs in both Cowley and East Oxford, said the scheme was clearly ‘unpopular’.

He added: "The overwhelming rejection of the Cowley LTNs in the recent consultation is pretty consistent with similar consultation results across the country - when asked, most residents just don't want them.

"Many councils have now ripped out unpopular LTNs. Unfortunately, Oxfordshire County Council appears determined to stick with this failed approach, irrespective of what residents say. For example, a new LTN in east oxford was recently approved, despite the majority of consultees rejecting it - and despite Oxfordshire County Council already knowing that it had also lost the Cowley LTN consultation.

"For a council that claims to be a Fair Deal Alliance, it doesn't appear to be treating Oxford residents very fairly."

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said: “The council is currently analysing feedback received from the public consultation, along with the results of engagement with resident groups, businesses and emergency and waste collection services.

"The demographic of responses and the reasons given for supporting or objecting the LTNs will be considered, and data collected from traffic surveys and air quality monitoring will also be taken into account.

"The full set of data will be submitted for a council Cabinet member decision on 24 February.”