Oxfordshire County Council “conspired” to ensure residents were not fully informed during the traffic filters public consultation, a councillor has said.

Leader of the opposition, Eddie Reeves, Conservative, has accused Oxfordshire County Council of acting in “bad faith” during the traffic filters consultation.

Last week, the Oxford Mail published an investigation which revealed the council refused to release a detailed traffic survey.

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This showed traffic congestion is set to increase on Woodstock Road by 62.4 per cent and Botley Road by 10 per cent.

Over the weekend, a Times story reported documents obtained under freedom of information laws showed the council “promised the Oxford Traffic Filters would go ahead six months before a public consultation began”.

These investigations have led to councillors expressing serious concerns about the consultation’s integrity.

Mr Reeves said Oxfordshire County Council now had a duty to prove the consultation was conducted in “good faith”.

He said: "I am increasingly concerned that the council has made a decision affecting thousands of motorists in bad faith or that its decision no longer commands public support.

“Following its failure to publish modelling data, as one would expect, before its public consultation began on September 5.

"The council must now explain as a matter of urgency that any commitments made to the Department for Transport back in the spring do not invalidate the cabinet's decision in late-Autumn to go ahead.”

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Mr Reeves said the latest revelations had put the “moral validity” of the consultation into doubt.

He expressed his concern the council had “nonetheless conspired to ensure that residents businesses and community groups could not reasonably offer an informed view during its public consultation exercise”.

Mr Reeves also highlighted there were serious questions the council needed to answer over the timetable for the consultation.

He added: “The modelling data, meanwhile, was not published until October 21, a week after the Council's public consultation had ended on October 13 and eight weeks prior to the Cabinet's public decision to approve the filters on November 29.”

On legal grounds, Oxfordshire County Council refused to release the detailed modelling data because they said “there was no legal requirement to publish the full results”.

Liam Walker, shadow cabinet member for highways, said the Oxford Mail and Times’ investigations had brought to light information which is “deeply concerning”.

He said: “This information is deeply concerning and highlights what many of us suspected.

“The council were moving ahead at speed with the bus gate plans in order to get electric bus funding from the government, despite there being serious opposition in the first place.”

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Mr Walker said the council was too busy “hiding” as opposed to engaging with residents.

He added: “The county council and the coalition are consistently hiding behind the need to constantly engage in a hope they’re seen to be caring when in reality the decisions have been made and they will simply push ahead with their own agenda.”

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: "The traffic filters public consultation and decision making process last year was sound.

"A summary of key information from transport modelling was published alongside the consultation when it opened on September 5, 2022.

"After the consultation, a more detailed transport modelling report was published alongside other information to support the council’s decision making. 

"The report provided further detail, but it did not alter the overall conclusions set out in the summary provided alongside the survey. 

"The filters will not be implemented until after works to improve Oxford station are completed in late 2024.

"Consultation is an important part of the decision making process.

"It is particularly important to understand the impact a decision may have on people, so we can adapt our plans where needed.

"Consultation feedback is reviewed alongside other information when decisions are made in the council’s public meetings."