A Didcot county and district councillor is accusing Oxfordshire County Council of treating children in South Oxfordshire as “second class citizens” and running an “Oxford-centric administration" after a town school was not included in the latest phase of the School Streets scheme.

Councillor Ian Snowdon has been working side-by-side with Manor Primary School for several months, striving to enhance safety measures outside the school immediately before and after the school day with the help of the county council-run project.

However, of the 25 schools initially considered in the latest phase of the project (phase two), only seven made the cut; six in Oxford and the other in Banbury. Although five schools were selected (bringing the overall total of School Streets in the county to nine including the four in phase one which are now active) seven in this phase benefit due to the proximity of three to one another which form a combined area.

READ MORE: Oxford MP declares Botley Interchange traffic 'simply cannot go on'

The School Streets programme is an active travel measure which sees the timed closure of roads around the school at the beginning and end of the school day to create a safe space for people to walk and cycle to and from school.

Following an initial trial to determine viability, if successful, it becomes a permanent fixture and can then be enforced with cameras to catch and fine motorists who access the temporary closure zone whilst it is in use.

After repeatedly contacting the council for updates and an explanation as to why Manor Primary missed out, council officers accused the school of failing to engage with the scheme and enter into communications with them – something Mr Snowdon and the school have firmly repudiated.

Mr Snowdon said: “Headteacher Mrs Robinson has argued that the opposite of what the council has said is true, that they are the ones that have not engaged with the school.

“Cars are parked everywhere causing a tailback to the main road and she is frequently emailing parents about this and improving safety measures.

READ MORE: Oxfordshire-based brownie business welcomes new owner

“One of the eligibility criteria for this scheme says selected schools must be geographically spread round the county yet nearly all are being put in the affluent areas of north Oxford.

“This is yet another situation where safety outside of the ring road is being completely ignored. Apparently a child’s life in Didcot is not as important as a child's life in Oxford, despite more children living in surrounding districts.”

A county council spokesperson said: "Oxfordshire County Council is discussing with the school and Cllr Snowdon with a view to planning for a school street. We have included the Manor School in our proposed Phase Three programme, which would be funded from the Active Travel Fund if we are successful."

Sources within the council have confirmed that a bid for this funding was submitted last Monday (November 27). Should it be successful, it is estimated that this phase of the scheme could be operational by September 2024.