A Conservative Party councillor has hit back after the county council’s cabinet member for highways accused councillors representing the party of “rank hypocrisy” in their attitude towards low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs).

Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways, accused Conservative councillors of “rank hypocrisy” and criticised them for failing to come up with any “alternative solutions” to LTNs.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak told the Sunday Telegraph that he wanted motorists to be assured that he was on “their side” and he has ordered the Department of Transport to review the controversial traffic measures.

READ MORE: Oxford LTNs: Tories accused of 'rank hypocrisy' over scheme

Oxford Mail: LTNs in East OxfordLTNs in East Oxford (Image: Public)

Despite Mr Sunak’s intervention, Mr Gant reaffirmed the county council’s commitment to LTNs and characterised Mr Sunak’s comments as “profoundly disappointing” and “utterly wrong”.

READ MORE: Oxford LTNs: Rishi Sunak says 'I'm on side of motorists'

Conservative county councillor and shadow cabinet member for highways, Liam Walker, has since attacked the coalition parties for introducing “anti-motorist schemes” which aren’t about “the climate or tackling congestion”.

Oxford Mail: County councillor Liam WalkerCounty councillor Liam Walker (Image: Liam Walker)

Mr Walker said: “It is no secret that some schemes have received government funding but the decisions to press ahead with more LTNs or the controversial bus gates in Oxford sit solely with the coalition.

“The Lib Dems seem to blame the Conservatives for the LTNs but then take credit for them on their election leaflets.”

Mr Walker said more “encouraging schemes” were needed such as free parking at Park and Ride sites.

A county council spokesman said an offer which makes parking and bus travel more cost effective at all of Oxford’s park and rides was extended earlier this year.

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He said: “This is sadly an administration that is determined to hammer anyone who drives and they’ve resorted to monitoring our local roads through more and more cameras and big fines if you make the wrong turn.”

At the park and ride, the council said that passengers can buy a combined ticket at a reduced price which covers both parking and return bus travel at a rate of £4 for a car with only one adult or £5 for a car and two adults.

Under both options, up to three children under 16 can travel for free.

Mr Walker suggested the county council’s decision to replace LTNs with automatic number plate recognition cameras on three roads in Cowley (Littlehay Road, Crescent Road and Littlemore Road) was a sign the council was “backing down on some LTN measures”.

Mr Gant rejected the suggestion that he was watering down the LTNs and said the council would continue to listen.

He highlighted that he had visited businesses a few weeks ago with the cabinet member for travel Duncan Enright.

Mr Gant said householders should not be worried about taxi drivers exploiting the exemptions to ANPR cameras as “these could be withdrawn”.

Cowley Road business owners have told the Oxford Mail in the past that the county council had “disrespected” and “abandoned” them by not listening to their concerns before the LTNs were introduced.

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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 East Oxford.

The county council has promised to continue engaging with householders’ feedback and ran a consultation on the East Oxford LTNs which finished on July 20.

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Ed specialises in writing political stories for the Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times. 

He joined in the team in February 2023, after completing a History undergraduate degree at the University of York and studying for his NCTJ diploma in London.

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