The six-month closure of Botley Road began yesterday (April 11) and businesses are worried for the future.

Network Rail has shut the road at the rail bridge while a multi-million-pound redevelopment of Oxford Station takes place.

The company say it will see a bigger station built, new track put in, and improvements to the roads around the station.

Only pedestrians and cyclists are able to pass under the bridge, with all motor vehicles forced to find an alternative route in and out of the city.

Oxford Mail:

Buses are currently dropping passengers off at Osney Bridge and must now turn around in the area once occupied by the Oxford Youth Hostel Association (YHA) building, just off the Botley Road.

The route is not expected to reopen until October, with a similar six-month closure also due to be enforced next year.

Zach Iqbal, owner of Xeromotorbikes Oxford on the Ferry Hinksey Road, explained that the closure is likely to have a catastrophic impact on his garage business.

He said: “70 per cent of our clients come from the city and they can’t exactly cycle their cars to us.”

Mr Iqbal pressed National Rail for a meeting to find out more about how the company planned to mitigate the effect of the closure on local businesses.

Oxford Mail:

He said: “I told them about the impact that it would have on businesses, not just mine, but all the businesses in the area.

“Network Rail produced a really poor leaflet and gave it to me on Thursday which was just four days before the closure.

“They have not been very constructive at all.”

Mr Iqbal added: “There are now so many empty businesses in Oxford city centre.

“If they want the whole local economy to close, then they are doing the right thing.”

Other businesses in the Osney Mead Industrial Estate are concerned that the signs on Botley Road saying that the road ahead is closed, will direct customers away.

Oxford Mail:

The owner of Aldens MeatMaster has called for it to be made clearer that businesses in the area remain open.

He posted on Facebook: “We are open as usual as from Tuesday 11th despite Botley Road being ‘closed’.

“It would be nice if Oxford City Council and Network Rail put a sign up saying ‘businesses along Botley Road and Osney Mead open as normal.”

The co-owner of Botley Road Cycles, Steve Stuart has branded the only positive thing about the closure the fact that people bringing a bike to the shop, will be able to cycle down the Botley Road in record quick time.

He said: “Who knows how it is going to turn out?

Oxford Mail:

“Up until now everyone has carried on as normal.”

Network Rail has been contacted for comment.