A warning has been issued over 'near misses' involving pedestrians and delivery vehicles at the University Parks in Oxford.

Plans have been submitted to Oxford City Council to create a new path behind South Lodge to boost safety for people enjoying a walk.

Oxford University wants to create the new pedestrian path off South Parks Road to avoid a clash between people on foot and delivery vehicles.

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A statement compiled by the university's park superintendent Dr Carolyn Jenkins tells planners: "This is a proposal to reduce the risk to pedestrians from vehicle use resulting from a series of ‘near misses’.

"It is specifically intended to mitigate rather than eliminate risk, but is a key feature of a series of low impact initiatives designed to make the University Parks safer for users.

"The main vehicle route into the University Parks for deliveries, events traffic and maintenance vehicles for the University Parks and Sports departments is off South Parks Road, from the South Lodge gate northwards.

Oxford Mail: "This is also the busiest pedestrian route through the parks."

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Dr Jenkins added: "The potential conflicts on this shared pedestrian/vehicle route are exacerbated by the use of headphones or mobile phones by pedestrians and joggers. Dogs off leads are an additional problem.

"Both parks and security staff have had concerns for a while that there is a health and safety risk that requires mitigation. There is no possible alternative access for vehicles into the University Parks."

The university is proposing the alternative pedestrian route in an area nearby, alongside the fence between the University Parks and the university science area.

Oxford Mail: An entrance to Oxford University ParksDr Jenkins added: "While there are currently no plans to ban pedestrians from using the shared roadway, it is expected that the new path, which is a more direct route – and which will be landscaped – will be more attractive to dog walkers, students, joggers and people with small children, mitigating the hazard."

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City councillor Anna Railton welcomed the proposal.

She said: "This sounds positive and anything that reduces conflict between pedestrians and vehicles is to be welcomed. It’s quite a tricky corner at the moment."

Last year Oxford University temporarily dropped its ban on bikes in the University Parks.

The suspension of the ban was in place while work was carried out to repair the Marston cycle path bridges across the River Cherwell.

Oxford Mail: Race for Life in the University ParksThe bridges were built over 30 years ago, and were in urgent need of repair. 

Cyclists and other residents have long campaigned to be allowed to ride through University Parks but the university has decided not to allow it.

A university spokesman said last year: "Access for bicycles to the University Parks has been discussed previously, but it is the firm view of the curators that the main priority is to maintain the University Parks as a peaceful space for everyone to enjoy, and large numbers of people cycling there could endanger other parks users."

Cancer Research UK has staged annual Race for Life events at the university parks.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.