AN action plan has been designed with several new projects to help Oxford City Council improve the “resilience” of the city.

The action plan project first began in 2019 as a collaboration between the council and local stakeholders with the objective of “identifying a set of actions that would strengthen the resilience of our city centre”.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic the action plan had to be delayed but it did give councillors more time to engage with stakeholders and figure out which projects should be prioritised.

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The action plan has been split into four “work streams” to help categorise the projects. These work streams are:

  • Connectivity and access: “Limit private vehicles, reduce conflict and congestion, and create space for buses, bikes, and people”.
  • Public realm and animation: “Improve the public realm and provide events and experience to animate it and boost dwell times.”
  • Getting the mix right: “Building on Oxford's world-class innovative and creative spirit, enhance the city centre as a place to live, start and grow a business, visit, and play.”
  • Getting the basics right: “Create an inclusive, safe, and attractive city centre that mediates and promotes the diverse range of activities and uses.”

Within each work stream, there are several projects which range from things the council have already introduced, such as Zero Emission Zones, to projects they want to start, such as achieving more overnight visitor stays.

Councillor Imogen Thomas, who introduced theaction plan at the council’s scrutiny meeting last week, said she wanted to stress the council’s commitment to the environment in this plan and its “ambitious targets to reach Net Zero.”

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She said: “There has been a lot of engagement with a lot of different groups and that's very fitting because it is a community owned plan that is open ended and encourages feedback and flexibility going forward.

“This is because we know that the city centre today is not the city centre of two years ago but also not the city centre of 10 years ago and we don't quite know what will happen in the in the next 5 to 10 years.

“I would stress that it's more of a way of making sense of a lot of things that are already happening, adding some kind of structure, some momentum, some ownership to some of that work, as well as proposing new ideas.

“It's also adapting to things we know are going to happen but aren't entirely within the council's control.

“So where the council would might be taking leadership of creating this plan, it is something that will have to be implemented in partnership with institutions, with stakeholders, with tenants in the centre, and with residents - we'll need that constant feedback.

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“I also want to stress the commitments on the environments, trying to really pin down those ways to reach our ambitious targets, to reach Net Zero, to increase biodiversity, to make the city green and a place where people can take breaks, children can play, and where travellers are safe.”

The action plan will be discussed at the next full cabinet meeting and will continue to be implemented across the city.


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This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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