I’m Too Sexy hitmakers Right Said Fred suggested the Oxford traffic filters plan was the ‘thin end of the wedge’ as they joined opponents of the council scheme.

Several hundred people travelled from across the country for the event, organised by group Not Our Future, with the aim of leafletting every house in the city about the controversial traffic filter trial.

The scheme has excited strong feelings worldwide, with critics linking it an ambition in council planning documents for ’15 minute neighbourhoods’ – an ambition that people should have shops, healthcare facilities and parks within quarter of an hour’s walk of their home.

The council says any suggestion people will be ‘confined to their own area’ is untrue.

READ MORE: Not Our Future plans leaflet drop against Oxford 15 minute neighbourhoods and car ban

Right Said Fred star Richard Fairbrass said: “This is the thin end of the wedge. The council, as I understand it, has not put it through a democratic process. There is no support of it, I understand.”

His bandmate and brother, Fred Fairbrass, said: “Servants have got into the habit of thinking they are masters and masters have got into the habit of thinking they are servants.

“The people in Oxford County Council are servants and it’s their job to serve our best interests. If they are so certain this idea is such a brilliant plan, put it to the vote.”

Some of those queueing at the Seacourt Park and Ride, Botley, to pick up stacks of leaflets on Sunday for onward distribution had come from as far afield as County Durham and Cardiff.

Alex Stonor was closer to home. The St Clements resident said she would be ‘directly affected’ by the traffic filter plan, with one of the six ‘gates’ to be installed on St Clements between Rectory Road and Jeune Street.

She said of the low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) infrastructure installed last year in her street: “It hasn’t improved my experience; [traffic] is just as bad if not worse.”

Another East Oxford resident, 44, who asked not to be named, said she was ‘absolutely sick of being told what to do by the council’.

She raised concerns about the consultation carried out into the filters plan last year, to which more than 4,000 responded. People felt they were ‘not being listened to’ and she added of the council: “They haven’t listened for a long time.”

The leaflet developed by Not Our Future compared Oxford residents to ‘guinea pigs’ and claimed those living in the city ‘will all be subjects of a scheme known as 15 Minute Neighbourhoods’. The neighbourhoods plan was labelled ‘a controlled system to restrict people from driving freely around the city’.

Both Oxford City and Oxfordshire County councils have hit back at some of the coverage of the 15 minute neighbourhood scheme, describing it as ‘misinformation’.

“The 15-minute neighbourhoods proposal aims to ensure that every resident has all the essentials (shops, healthcare, parks) within a 15-minute walk of their home. They aim to support and add services, not restrict them,” the council said in a briefing before Christmas.

“Under the traffic filters, residents will still be able to drive to every part of the city at any time – but in the future, at the times when the filters are operating, you may need to take a different route (e.g. using the ring road) if you want to travel by car.”

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, between 7am and 9am and from 3pm to 6pm.

Oxford residents will be able to apply for permits to drive through the filters on 100 days a year. There will be other exemptions for blue badge holders, carers, emergency workers, buses and taxis.

Not technically a road block, they will work in the same way as the existing bus gate on the High Street, with fines issued to those who drive through without a permit when the ‘filters’ are in operation.

It is expected they will be introduced in 2024.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward