Householders have accused Oxfordshire County Council of being “out of touch” after a Freedom of Information request revealed it plans to spend £336,000 of taxpayers’ money on replacing Low Traffic Neighbourhood bollards with surveillance cameras.

The council plans to enforce the existing LTN restrictions in Littlehay Road, Crescent Road and Littlemore Road, Cowley, through the introduction of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, which will issue motorists a fixed penalty notice unless they have an exemption.

Under the plans, the council will amend the restrictions at the traffic filter in Littlemore Road, north of the junction with Compass Close.

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The LTNs in Cowley were made permanent in July 2022 but the council is reviewing the scheme and has launched a consultation to ask householders for their opinions on the expensive cameras before the decision is signed off.

Members of the public have until April 17 to respond to the consultation before a report is presented to Andrew Gant, the cabinet member for highway management.

The authority says the new cameras will allow “flexibility for amendments to bus services, allow for increased police patrols” and allow for “unforeseen or emergency situations”.

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Emergency vehicles will be exempt from fines at Littlehay Road and Crescent Road, while local buses, taxis, private hire vehicles and universal service providers will be eligible for an exemption in Littlemore Road.

A request made under the Freedom of Information Act reveals the cost of the new cameras will be between £48,000 and £56,000 each for Crescent Road and Littlehay Road, with the council expecting the cameras for Littlemore Road to cost a similar amount.

If given the go-ahead, the bill for the new enforcement cameras could reach between £288,00 and £336,000.


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Councillors and East Oxford householders branded the cost as “absolutely disgusting” and “utterly astonishing”, coming after council tax was raised by 4.99 per cent – the maximum allowed by law – and with the ongoing cost of living crisis.

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Rudy Valentino, from Cromwell road, said: “It shows how out of touch the council is.

“In a cost of living crisis, spending around £56,000 on each camera to fine local residents that are going about their daily business is absolutely disgusting.

“They don’t even live anywhere near to where they have implemented the LTNs.”

Mr Gant confirmed in a recent council meeting that ANPR cameras can be expected to raise more than £59,000 in their first year, and then up to £99,000.

Mr Gant has said “ideally any ANPR cameras would raise no pounds at all” and promised to invest any funds raised in “further transport initiatives”.

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The LTN scheme has already demanded additional investment from the council. In November, The Oxford Times found that £100,000 was spent on replacing the plastic bollards with steel items.

Independent Councillor Sajjad Malik described the expenditure as a “complete waste of taxpayers’ money” when “social services are struggling for cash”.

Oxford Mail: Councillor Sajjad MalikCouncillor Sajjad Malik (Image: Contributed)

He said: “This is yet again another tax which will make money out of people who are struggling to make ends meet. People have been hit with the highest council tax this year, while working class people remain on the same pay.”

Mr Malik said Mr Gant’s disclosure of the ANPR cameras’ expected revenue revealed it was “a money-making exercise with nothing to do with pollution or the environment”.

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Green councillor Dr Pete Sudbury said it was right to install ANPR cameras as they offered “greater flexibility”.

He said: “The idea behind replacing the ANPR cameras is to make it easier for exempt vehicles to get through.

“They are more flexible than a bollard and they allow you to help people through with disabilities and emergency workers.

“They also allow you to fine people who ignore them, which to some extent offsets their costs.”

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Ian Yeatman, who lives in Rahere Road, and whose 88-year-old father is registered disabled, said the council had “disregarded” the impact of ANPR cameras on blue badge holders.

He added: “Given the cost of installing £56,000 cameras, there should be a realised benefit to the disabled community by allowing them access to the most direct route of travel.

"Life in Littlemore has become more difficult since the LTNs were introduced with lengthy queues on major roads.”

The council has said the exemptions form part of the ongoing consultation.

Conservative councillor and shadow cabinet member for highways Liam Walker described the predicted cost as “utterly astonishing”.

Mr Gant said: “As part of the ongoing review of the Cowley LTNs we are consulting until April 17 on the potential to replace three removable bollards with ANPR cameras.

“If approved, the ANPR cameras will enforce three existing LTN filter sites. The use of ANPR at these locations instead of bollards will allow flexibility for changes to bus services, and allow some traffic in emergency situations.

"There are already two Cowley LTN points that are enforced by ANPR camera (Bartholomew Road and Cornwallis Road).

"If ANPR is approved for the three additional sites, it will mean that five of the 15 Cowley LTNs will be enforced by ANPR camera.

"Any income raised from penalty charges will be used to cover the operating costs of the cameras and to fund other transport measures like encouraging active travel. 

"Ideally only those who are exempt will travel through the sites.

"The decision to use ANPR cameras to enforce traffic restrictions is made on a case-by-case basis.”

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: "Any income raised from penalty charges will be used to cover the operating costs of the cameras and to fund other transport measures like encouraging active travel. Ideally only those who are exempt will travel through the sites."