Traffic filters will 'definitely' be introduced in Oxford, said a travel chief, implying the controversial plan would go ahead whether people liked it or not.

A cabinet decision on the traffic restrictions will be made on November 29 following a consultation which closed earlier this month.

But Duncan Enright, cabinet member for travel and development strategy, has already told the Sunday Times: "It's going to happen, definitely."

The filters stopping most motorists from driving through Oxford city centre will divide the city into six "15 minute" neighbourhoods, he said with the aim of reducing congestion and making city life more pleasant.

But his premature announcement hardened residents' suspicions that the county council does not listen to them.

Hotelier Jeremy Mogford, who owns the Old Bank Hotel in High Street and the Old Parsonage Hotel and Gees, in Banbury Road, said: “It’s outrageous. We are all hoping that, as we live in a democracy, that a consultation means what it says.

READ ALSO: Oxford to remain home of Mini despite company move to China

"We should all be concerned about the fact that it’s not a democratic decision because what he is saying is, irrespective of what we say, they will go ahead anyway.

“He’s saying he could not give a monkeys for god’s sake.”

He added: "I’m told Enright lives in Witney. He’s making decisions that are going to be life-changing for us in the city. I bet he very rarely comes here except for council meetings. If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny.

"We’re being dictated to by councillors who don’t even live here.”

The county council has faced accusations that its public consultations are a token gesture before.

LTNs in Cowley were made permanent despite a consultation showing that 63 per cent of respondents objected.

The permanent closure of a section of Witney High Street and the introduction of paid parking in Woodstock town centre also went ahead despite public consultations showing most respondents objected.

Despite this, councillors are repeatedly urging the public to take part in the consultation on east Oxford low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) which is running until November 30.

Mr Enright explained in the Sunday Times that the heart of the traffic filters policy was to turn Oxford into "a 15-minute city" with local services within a small walking radius.

The new traffic filters on St Cross Road, Thames Street, Hythe Bridge Street and St Clements would operate seven days a week from 7am to 7pm.

Two more filters on Marston Ferry Road and Hollow Way would operate from Monday to Saturday.

People can drive freely around their own neighbourhood and can apply for a permit to drive through the filters, and into other neighbourhoods, for up to 100 days per year. This equates to an average of two days per week.

The alternative is to drive out on to the ring road and then back in to the destination.

A maximum of three permits a household will be allowed where there are several adults with cars registered to the address.

Buses, coaches, taxis, delivery vans, HGVs, motorbikes and bikes are exempt and there are exceptions for blue badge holders and people with caring responsibilities.

Mr Enright told the Sunday Times: "It is about making sure you have the community centre which has all of those essential needs, the bottle of milk, pharmacy, GP, schools which you need to have a 15-minute neighbourhood."

But Jeremy Mogford called the plan "a ridiculous experiment" and said it would be disastrous for business and drastically reduce quality of life for city dwellers as well as visitors.

“We live in a small city, why divide it into six? Each area works with the others and needs the others to support it commercially.

“It’s not necessary – do not divide this city. We are not in Glasgow or Manchester – although it probably wouldn’t happen in Manchester, only in Oxford could something so crazy be put forward as an idea.

“They are experimenting on us. It’s a giant experiment at the expense of those who run businesses and those who live in the city.

“But those who will also suffer are the people who live just outside the city who want to come into Oxford and want to drive in as you usually would. People just outside Oxford are going to be the unwitting victims of this too.”

Referring to the proposals for wider traffic measures such as bus gates Mr Mogford said they were ‘ridiculous’ and ‘unecessary’.

“In the city there are these little bits of congestion that we all know about which could be fixed for very little money with a bit of intelligence.

“Yes, there is congestion but very specific congestion to do with term times and the universities starting breaks. There are a limited number of reasons for it to be congested. All of these could be solved without spending these millions of pounds that the council seems determined to spend."

READ ALSO: Man dies following crash on A420 earlier this week

Mr Mogford has received hate mail for publicising his views.

A postcard said: "Oxford has been very good for you. Why do you hate Oxford so much?"

Mr Enright insisted to the Oxford Times that the council is "committed to engaging with and listening to residents and all our partners in an active and inclusive way".

For a year it has engaged with businesses, residents, hospitals and community groups on the traffic filters scheme.

He said responses to a public consultation that took place from 5 September to 13 October 2022 are being analysed by an independent organisation.

But he added: “Car use remains too high for our historic centre to cope. All road users, including people who drive, cycle or travel by public transport are facing the consequences of traffic congestion.

“Traffic filters are just one proposed part of a broader set of measures to reduce congestion and offer alternative travel options to get around without a car.

"We know that we need to take action to improve our transport system and make it fit for the future. The knowledge and experience of residents and businesses in shaping these plans is invaluable.”

He said cabinet members will consider a range of information before making a decision.

"This includes feedback received during consultation as well as data on traffic patterns and air quality, legal advice, and equality and climate impact assessments."

If approved by the cabinet, the traffic filters would be implemented as a trial for approximately six months.

During this, the council would collect information on the effects of the scheme and a decision about its long-term future of the traffic filters would be made after that.



Read more from this author

This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

Profile: Miranda Norris Journalists news from the Oxford Mail