An Oxford tool shop will close after more than 40 years, blaming Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) for causing a “drop-off in trade”.

Toolmaster in Temple Cowley, which has operated since the late 1970s, will open for a final time on January 31.

A staff member said heavy traffic in Oxford Road, where the store is based, was putting off customers.

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Oxford Mail: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in Cowley started operating in March 2021Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in Cowley started operating in March 2021

Chris Black, 59, who has worked at Toolmaster for 42 years, said congestion had worsened since the controversial LTN scheme was introduced in Temple Cowley in 2021.

“It’s got to the point where people don’t want to come here,” he told the Oxford Mail. “It takes two hours to get here from the other side of Oxford.”

Oxfordshire County Council’s scheme uses bollards and cameras to stop motorists taking shortcuts through residential areas.

In Temple Cowley, this means vehicles cannot access parts of Temple Road, Junction Road, Crescent Road, and Salegate Lane.

As a result, the main Oxford Road is “chocka” with traffic every day, according to Mr Black.

He said: “It’s mentioned all the time by customers.

"I've got friends that won’t come and go somewhere else because they haven’t got time to be stuck in traffic.

Oxford Mail:

“There wasn’t an immediate drop-off in trade (because of the LTNs), but traffic has got steadily worse.

"Literally every day from 1pm there’s a queue of traffic outside.

“Traffic is ok in the mornings, but it’s chocka in the afternoons.

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“It’s nice if you’ve got passing trade. But no one’s stopping here anymore."

Mr Black said the store’s imminent closure hadn’t “sunk in yet”, with four staff set to lose their jobs.

But he said it had been “on the cards” for some time.

“The decision was made recently but it’s been quiet the whole year. It’s been on the cards,” he said.

“Many businesses are struggling around here.

“You would have thought the county council would know this would happen.”

Oxford Mail: Councillor Liam Walker said LTNs were having a devastating impact on businessesCouncillor Liam Walker said LTNs were having a devastating impact on businesses

A council spokesperson said: "LTNs are intended to make residential streets safer and more comfortable for walking, wheeling, and cycling.

"They are designed to work with other measures to reduce the need to travel by car and improve journeys made by walking, cycling and public transport.

"We continue to monitor the LTNs on a site-by-site basis and evaluate their impact."

The Cowley LTNs were introduced by a Conservative administration at the council before the party fell out of power at the local elections in 2021.

But Tory shadow highways chief Liam Walker said the scheme was having a "devastating impact" on businesses.

He said: “It’s sad to hear yet another business shutting up shop due to the devastating impact LTNs in Oxford are having on their business.

“Time and time again the coalition at the county council seem to ignore the views of those simply trying to make a living.”

LTNs in East Oxford have been blamed for the closures of Silvester’s Store in Magdalen Road, and Honest Stationery and Cafe Tarifa in Cowley Road.

But Oxford city centre saw increased footfall this summer, bucking the national trend.