Continuing the Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in East Oxford will threaten the commercial future of some Co-op stores, the supermarket has warned.

The Midcounties Co-operative said its Iffley Road and Cowley Road stores had already seen a downturn in trade because of the controversial traffic calming measures.

And the company warned that the “commercial viability” of these stores would be put under question if the LTNs were continued in the area.

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Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet will decide on Tuesday (October 17) whether to make the LTNs in Divinity Road, St Mary’s and St Clement’s permanent.

The council said it would consider feedback from stakeholders at the meeting.

Oxford Mail: The Co-op on Cowley RoadThe Co-op on Cowley Road (Image: Google Maps)

Those in support of LTNs have always claimed they make roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists and reduce traffic and air pollution.

But the Midcounties Co-operative said some of its 11 stores within the Oxford ring road had been “directly impacted” by LTNs as it urged the council to reassess the scheme.

The feedback came as part of a consultation in June over the LTNs, which were first introduced on a trial basis in East Oxford in May 2022.

A letter from the Midcounties Co-operative said: “The traffic filters implemented as part of the LTNs have had a clear and measurable impact on sales and profitability our stores in the affected area and have resulted in significant traffic congestion, negatively affecting local businesses

“Our sites at Cowley Road and Iffley Road have already suffered significant negative commercial impacts as a direct result of the current LTN measures currently in place in Oxford.”

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The Iffley Road store has reportedly seen a 4.6 per cent decrease in trading compared with the previous year while the Cowley Road store was down 21.13 per cent.

Oxford Mail: An LTN in East OxfordAn LTN in East Oxford

This compared to an average five per cent increase across non-LTN Co-op stores in the same period.

The supermarket said: “While there will always be a range of factors that influence the commercial performance of individual stores, the discrepancy between the performance of Iffley Road and Cowley Road when compared to similar stores within our footprint shows that the LTNs are the single most detrimental factor."

“Without action, the ongoing commercial viability of these stores is now under question.”

“As these impacts have been driven by the LTN policy, it is therefore clear that the council should consider providing appropriate compensation and/or a reduction in business rates that reflect the reduced trading environment that now exists in the local area.”

The letter also raised concerns over the council’s traffic filter trial, which is set to be rolled out in six streets next year.

A council spokesperson said: "The cabinet will consider a significant body of evidence (at the meeting), including feedback from stakeholders.”