A CONTROVERSIAL new traffic scheme which has seen 14 East Oxford roads closed to through traffic has been slated as an "appalling" betrayal of public trust.

Senior Oxford city councillor Shaista Aziz said residents had been calling her in tears after Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTNs) barriers were installed on Friday.

The roadblocks were set up in the Divinity Road, St Clement's, and St Mary's areas as part of a six-month trial.

READ MORE: Traffic chaos and vandalism as even pro-LTN individuals share trial doubts

Ms Aziz, the council's Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities, said: "I'm not anti- LTNs, but I'm not pro these LTNs. I'm appalled by what's going on.

"People have been concerned for months and months and they feel like they're not being listened to. We have to do something about air pollution, but I believe that the current LTN system isn't working.

"The county council is losing people's trust in the system."

An online petition started by anti-LTN campaigner Mossy Rana calling on the council to remove the aims to remove them has already received over 1900 signatures within its first few days.

A county council survey conducted last year showed most businesses opposed to the East Oxford scheme with 80 per cent, objecting to the plans – 90 per cent of them saying it would create more traffic on nearby roads.

There were also concerns from the city council that the scheme was too rushed.

Ms Aziz continued: "A transport and environment policy that has any chance of succeeding to improve air quality and protecting the environment must also be rooted in tackling inequalities and improving the lives of the most disadvantaged in our city.

"The county council is failing to engage properly and respectfully with people and communities being hardest hit by Covid, the cost of living crisis and this ongoing fiasco.

"Many people have told me they feel like they're being dismissed and ignored by those in the county council who are elected to represent them."

County councillor for Iffley Fields & St Mary's, Damien Haywood condemned the vandalism of the bollards but said he understood residents' concerns, saying "change is difficult for everyone".

He added: "Obviously, the vandalism is unacceptable; we need to condemn that criminal damage in the strongest terms. People have legitimate reasons to be concerned and they need to express that, but the means is unacceptable.

"I think people were listened to on the first consultation. The majority of people who live in the area were for LTNs. It was a small majority but consultations are not a referendum.

"We do make changes if need be."

A county council spokesman said: “We are aware of reports of damage to bollards in the East Oxford Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) areas. We are currently undertaking a review of this. These measures cannot be implemented without engagement with those affected and we want to hear your views.

“We would strongly encourage people to engage with our public consultation on these LTNs at letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/east-oxford-ltns-2022."

Catch up with our coverage of the East Oxford LTN trials here:

Read more from this author

This story was written by Shosha Adie

She joined the team in 2022 as a digital reporter.   

To get in touch with her email: Shosha.Adie@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter: @ShoshaAdie

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