The county council has spent thousands of pounds replacing and repairing low traffic neighbourhood bollards with nearly half of this cost due to vandalism and theft.

A Freedom of Information request sent to Oxfordshire County Council by the Oxford Mail has revealed a total of £161,005 was spent by the authority in connection with the bollards.

The request asked how much money the council had spent on repairing the low traffic neighbourhood bollards and planters.

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The council’s response revealed that due to vandalism and theft, £75,005 has been spent on repairing the bollards.


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In addition to this, the council spent £86,000 purchasing and installing the new wooden bollards and locks.

The LTNs were first introduced in Church Cowley, Temple Cowley and Florence Parks in February 2021, and were later installed in Divinity Road, St Clement’s and St Mary’s in May 2022.

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Issues related to LTNs are controversial with householders and businesses, and recently Oxford was at the centre of the BBC’s Panorama ‘Road Wars: Neighbourhood Traffic Chaos’.

The programme featured the theft of the bollard from Howard Street which has been repeatedly driven over, pulled out of the ground and even set on fire.

Oxford Mail: File pic of a theft of an LTNFile pic of a theft of an LTN (Image: Newsquest)

Householders have since attached a high-tracker to the LTN bollard.

Independent city councillor for Temple Cowley Sajjad Malik said these costs for the LTN bollards was a “total waste of taxpayers money” and he criticised the council for getting “its priorities wrong”.

Mr Malik explained: “Oxfordshire County Council is out of touch and keeps believing in vanity projects.

“Emergency services have made it clear they don’t want any obstructions in the road and the county council is not listening and risking people’s lives.”

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Mr Malik called for the bollards to be removed immediately and said it was surprising the council had chosen to spend such a substantial sum of money on wooden bollards when “people are struggling to make ends meet” during a cost of living crisis.

Labour county councillor Damian Haywood told the Oxford Mail that it was "absolutely disgraceful that the council has to pay for wanton vandalism".

He added: "The installation of the wooden bollards has come as a result of selfish motorists refusing to obey the law and ignoring the motor vehicle prohibited signs which are displayed on each filter.

"This is all an extra cost that the taxpayer has to fork out as a result of abhorrent behaviour by some."

He continued: "We shouldn't have to spend this money rectifying the destruction of council property.

"It is these vandals who are causing the harm and the cost by disrupting the work of a democratically elected council."

Green party and city councillor Emily Kerr said it was "disgraceful" the "vandalism and damage by a few criminals" had "cost the council a fortune to repair" as well as "making our roads more dangerous".

Ms Kerr explained: "We know that LNTs cut road traffic accidents by 70 per cent and we've seen a huge increase in children walking and cycling to school as a consequence of having safer streets.

"These thugs are endangering lives and wasting money."

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: “The aim of LTNs is to create a better environment for walking, wheeling or cycling – making these a more natural first choice for short journeys around the city.

"LTNs are one part of the central Oxfordshire travel plan, a wider county council strategy to reduce the need to travel by car and improve journeys made by walking, cycling and public transport.

“Necessary repairs to vandalism, to protect road users’ safety, have come at a cost to the taxpayer.

“We have engaged with emergency services through the development and implementation of the experimental LTNs, and continue to work closely with them to ensure their continued access to and through these streets in emergencies.

"We remain committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to voice their opinion on these measures.

"We would encourage everyone who wishes to express an opinion on the measures to do so by contacting the council, and not through causing criminal damage.”