Oxford business owners have demanded compensation from the county council for the “damaging” impact of low traffic neighbourhoods after the government announced it was stripping local authorities of cash for future projects.

The Department for Transport announced that funding would no longer be given for Active Travel projects which included LTNs and instead projects would be prioritised which “benefit the community as a whole”.

After bidding for a share of the government’s £200 million package for cycling and walking schemes, Oxfordshire County Council missed out on any funding.

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Oxford Mail: Business owner Klontian MetaBusiness owner Klontian Meta (Image: Ed Halford)

The council’s cabinet member for highways, Andrew Gant, said he was “working with Active Travel England” to find out why.

East Oxford traders have now called on the council to compensate businesses.

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The demands come as Cowley Road restaurateur Clinton Pugh – father of Hollywood star Florence Pugh – revealed his Cafe Tarifa had been re-possessed as a result of LTNs hitting his finances.

Oxford Mail: Business owner Clinton PughBusiness owner Clinton Pugh (Image: Ed Halford)

Despite not including LTNs in their lastest Active Travel bid, the council revealed to the Oxford Times that it received £3.25 million from the government for LTNs and Quickways in previous funding rounds.

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The LTN scheme in Cowley and East Oxford aims to reduce traffic and make neighbourhoods quieter but Cowley Road business owners have said their introduction has led to losses as high as £100,000, with customers avoiding the area due to traffic congestion and a lack of parking.

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The owner of Love Coffee, Klontian Meta, said the council should compensate businesses, as he was “never consulted” about the measures which saw his revenue fall by 60 per cent.

Oxford Mail: Klontian Meta inside his Love Coffee businessKlontian Meta inside his Love Coffee business (Image: Ed Halford)

Mr Meta said the LTNs had been “disastrous”, and he was not surprised funding had stopped.

He said: “I believe the council should reverse these LTNs since the government has withdrawn funding.

"People cannot access my business, the traffic has become worse and people should have free choice over how they use their streets.”

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Before the LTNs were introduced, Mr Meta had four employees at his Cowley Road shop but said he had been forced to lose three.

Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport, said future projects would be denied funding if they banned cars.

However, Mr Harper’s announcement is too late for Clinton Pugh who has seen his business Café Tarifa re-possessed while in the process of selling it.

Oxford Mail: Cafe Tarifa has been re-possessed Cafe Tarifa has been re-possessed (Image: Ed Halford)

He said: “The government stopping its funding for LTNs is a true indication that lots of mistakes were made and these LTNs have been pushed through based on ideology which unfortunately wasn’t thought through.”

He called for the council to provide compensation and said the traffic measures had led to “extra stress”.

Oxford Mail: Clinton Pugh has now also put Cafe Coco on the marketClinton Pugh has now also put Cafe Coco on the market (Image: Ed Halford)

He said: “I’m happy to continue fighting for the other small businesses and most of them have English as their second language.

“I was hoping to sell my businesses before the Covid-pandemic and the council has made it very difficult.”

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Mr Pugh told the Oxford Times he “sadly” decided to also put Café Coco up for sale, after initially hoping to keep the business as the LTNs had caused more than £110,000 worth of damage to his finances.

Mohammed Mehrban, the owner of the Eastern and Continental Store, said the end of funding for LTNs meant it was the right time for the council to reverse the harmful traffic measures.

Oxford Mail: Business owner Mohammed MehrbanBusiness owner Mohammed Mehrban (Image: Ed Halford)

He said: “Since the LTNs were installed, I’ve lost 20 per cent of my business.

"The council should compensate businesses, as I lost nearly £100,000 in one year.

“You will never understand how much petrol and time I’ve wasted since these LTNs were installed.

"It’s time the council helped us.”

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The owner of Chinese restaurant Café Orient, Harrison Zhang, also insisted the LTNs had been “unfair” to his business prospects.

Oxford Mail: Harrison Zhang outside his businessHarrison Zhang outside his business (Image: Ed Halford)

He said: “It is difficult for my business because cars cannot reach it as easily.

"Since the council chose to block the roads, it has really hit trade.”

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Mr Zhang said he hoped the council would help businesses but said it was difficult knowing who to speak to about his concerns.

Oxford Mail: Harrison Zhang standing outside Cafe OrientHarrison Zhang standing outside Cafe Orient (Image: Ed Halford)

A county council spokesman said:“LTNs are part of the county council’s local transport and connectivity plan, designed to improve travel and transport.

"They are intended to make residential streets safer and more comfortable for walking, wheeling, and cycling.

"As part of the central Oxfordshire travel plan, they are designed to work together with other measures to reduce congestion and improve air quality.

“The LTNs already in Oxford will continue to be monitored by the council.

"The East Oxford LTNs area is still in a trial period, and subject to a county cabinet decision later this year.

"Although the online consultation on the East Oxford LTNs has now closed we encourage people to continue sharing their feedback with us.

"This feedback will contribute to the reporting that will be presented to cabinet for decision.

“We currently have no plans to introduce any more LTNs areas in Oxford but we continue to monitor the overall situation carefully to understand travel and traffic behaviour across the city.”