A councillor has faced backlash for a tweet in which he refused to support businesses which have “publicised their hatred” towards Oxford’s controversial Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs).

Damian Haywood has been accused of “criticising" struggling businesses with one trader telling him “shame on you.”

The Iffley Fields and St Mary's councillor tweeted on Small Business Saturday - a day when consumers are encouraged to 'shop local' - that he would not support traders who publicly criticised the traffic calming measures.

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His comments came after a new bar in Cowley Road, Bigfoot, posted on Instagram that it "hates LTNs".


A post shared by Bigfoot (@bigfoot_oxford)

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday (December 2), Mr Haywood, who sits as an Independent on Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Today I will be supporting small businesses #SmallBusinessSaturday. But I will not be supporting those who have openly publicised their hatred of our public health measures, especially prior to opening??!!

“Why do that? It alienates customers, which affects your revenue.”

Mr Haywood said he purposely did not name the business in his posts.

Business owners have raised concerns about the impact on trade caused by LTNs since they were introduced in Cowley and East Oxford.

Restaurateur Clinton Pugh, who claims he lost one of his three businesses in Cowley Road because of the LTNs, criticised Mr Haywood's comments.

“We’re not relying on him (Mr Haywood) anyway,” he told the Oxford Mail. “He has done nothing in this time to help us. He hasn’t visited us.

“So he’s saying either we agree with him, or he doesn’t support our business. Shame on you, Mr Haywood. What a thing to say.”

Others took to social media to voice their disapproval of the councillor's comments.

One X user, @NaomiL1991, said: “Why post criticising businesses who are already struggling with genuine concerns?

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“You're proving everything they say - if they have a different opinion to you they're ignored and belittled and you refuse to engage with them.

“It's your job to represent all of your residents.”

Another user, @william98024502, added: “But are these people not your residents whom you are voted in to look after and protect their interests?

“Does not a councillor to represent all residents and not the few.”

Mr Haywood told the Oxford Mail: “I want to get across that I think it was unwise to alienate a potential customer base, many of the local community support LTNs and for one establishment to come out against them is unwise from a business perspective…

“They clearly see a business opportunity on the Cowley Road, and why would they try to undermine that. I wish them well and I hope they change their opinion.”

In 2021, Mr Haywood resigned from a senior cabinet post in the council after a tweet in which he referred to 'Abrahamic religion' led to complaints.