An Oxford Mail investigation has revealed Oxfordshire County Council has spent almost £73,000 of its own money to repair road blocks in Oxford's Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.

An information request sent by the newspaper to the county council under the Freedom of Information Act disclosed the cost of fixing LTNs damaged by opponents of the scheme totalled £72,628.41.

It comes as the county council considers raising council tax and making cuts to children services and adult social care to plug a £44 million pound black hole in its budget.

Oxford Mail: An LTN in East Oxford An LTN in East Oxford (Image: Newsquest)

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The authority has also committed itself to spending £100,000 replacing the plastic bollards in East Oxford with steel columns after what it described as "unprecedented levels of vandalism".

The initial cost of setting up the LTN scheme was covered by an Active Travel grant from the Government. The grant, amounting to almost £3 million, was given to the council to fund active travel schemes such as the LTNs and improving cycle routes.

However, the council has confirmed repairs to the scheme are being paid from its own budget, specifically the budget priorities reserve – a fund set aside to deliver or supplement priority work.

Oxford Mail: The LTNs have faced unprecedented levels of vandalism The LTNs have faced unprecedented levels of vandalism (Image: Archive)

A spokesman for the council, which is led by a Liberal-Democrats, Labour and Green alliance, said: "The budget priority reserve is set aside as a contingency to supplement work on the council's priorities throughout any given year.

"Councils have such reserves as part of sensible financial planning in the same way that households have money set aside to deal with one-off or unforeseen expenditure."

Oxford Mail: The council has spent more than £76k repairing the LTNsThe council has spent more than £76k repairing the LTNs (Image: Ed Nix)

Liam Walker, shadow cabinet member for highway management, said taxpayers would "rightly be shocked" by the spending.

The Conservative councillor, who represents Hanborough and Minster Lovell, said: "I think this again shows how Oxford-focused the county council has become under this coalition with their drive to hammer motorists in the city.

"The taxpayers of Oxfordshire will rightly be shocked to hear the council are not only spending £100,000 on new bollards for the LTNs but that the council has already spent just over £70,000 on replacing damaged bollards.

Oxford Mail: The LTNs are set to be replaced with steel bollardsThe LTNs are set to be replaced with steel bollards (Image: Archive)

"This is on top of the £500,000 they've spent on new seats and planters on Broad Street in Oxford which is a kick in the teeth to our rural communities facing more bus cuts and potholed roads.

"The county coalition's priorities are all about Oxford rather than Oxfordshire."

Oxford Mail: Liam Walker said people will be shocked by the spending Liam Walker said people will be shocked by the spending (Image: Newsquest)

Andrew Gant, county council cabinet member for highway management, said: "Since installation of the East Oxford LTNs in May, Oxfordshire County Council has been working closely with Thames Valley Police and highways engineers to respond to the unprecedented level of vandalism targeting the filters, including repairing and reinstating damaged bollards.

"The council has reiterated throughout this time that these repairs come at a direct cost to the taxpayer and diverting funds which could be spent elsewhere.

"We would once again encourage everyone who wishes to express an opinion on the measures to do so by responding to the council's public consultation, and not through actions that come at a direct cost to innocent taxpayers."


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This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing:

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