Cyclists have hit out at the county council for a ten week cycle route closure which will force cyclists to travel along more “dangerous routes”.

The Marston cycle path will be closed for ten weeks from August 14 to allow essential refurbishment to take place to Lemond and Fignon cycle bridges.

Green Party and Oxford city councillor Emily Kerr has criticised the council for enforcing the closure when hundreds of children will be starting a new term at school and for not setting up a temporary route through a “small section of University Parks”.

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Oxford Mail: Lemond Cycle BridgeLemond Cycle Bridge (Image: Oxfordshire County Council)

On the county council’s website, it is said that Mesopotamia Walk and University Parks will “remain open to pedestrians during daylight hours as usual”.

However, it is asserted that “these routes are not appropriate for cyclists and cyclists are urged not to use them”.

Ms Kerr said: “The timing of the closure appears to have been chosen to minimise disruption to the University term which is great for students but not so good for hundreds of children starting a new term at school.

“They rely on a safe cycle route.”

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Oxford Mail: City councillor Emily KerrCity councillor Emily Kerr

Ms Kerr called on the council to be “practical” and to explore temporary routes through University Parks.

She has called on the curators of University Parks to help the community by temporarily opening a route from the corner of St Cross and South Parks Road which would run up until High Bridge.

Ms Kerr said this route would allow connectivity to Edgeway Road and could be open between Monday and Friday to allow children to get to school safely.

The county council has said cyclists are not able to use Mesopotamia Way and University Parks as they would “put pedestrians at risk”.

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It has also emphasised this work is “essential” and the summer months is the “best time” for the work to be carried out.

County councillor and cabinet member for highways Andrew Gant said: “This is a well-used path and the closure will cause inconvenience.

“I am keen to explore all options for safe and convenient active travel.

“I have explored possible alternatives with officers and stakeholders and, unfortunately, it is difficult to see any practical alternative routes.”

City and Green Party councillor for Marston Alistair Morris said he understood these works were necessary, but he expressed his concerns about cyclists being forced to take “more dangerous alternative routes".

The council has said alternative cycle routes are available via Magdalen Bridge, which is the shortest route and via Marston Ferry Road, which has segregated cycle paths.

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The county council leases Marston cycle path and the two bridges from Oxford University.

The council has responsibility for the maintenance of these bridges and the university has agreed to the work.

The Oxford Mail approached Cyclox for comment on the issue but it failed to respond.

The University of Oxford has been approached for comment.

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