“Opposition” has been expressed towards plans to allow cyclists on a main town road without the public having their full say.

Oxfordshire County Council is considering giving cyclists access to Sheep Street in Bicester which has been a pedestrianised zone in the conservation area of the town centre for some three decades.

Conservative county councillors for Bicester North and Bicester Town, Donna Ford and Michael Waine, have urged the council to hold a full consultation before beginning a trial.

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Other councillors in the area have gone so far as to suggest there are already bicycles on the street due to a lack of law enforcement.

Chris Pruden, Liberal Democrat district councillor for Bicester South and Ambrosden, said: “Effectively it’s not like there’s a ban any way.

Oxford Mail: Chris Pruden.Chris Pruden. (Image: Oxfordshire County Council.)

“Bollards don’t seem to work.

“Unfortunately Cherwell doesn’t have the community resources to enforce anything.”

Concern is nonetheless being raised about the plans to formally introduce two-way cycling to the street.

Councillor Michael Waine said: “I am totally opposed to the proposal to allow two-way cycling in Sheep Street 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Sheep Street has been a pedestrianised area for 30 years or more and has become an area used for markets, street cafes, exhibitions, and other events.

“If the scheme goes ahead I do not believe that the county council would be able to safeguard pedestrians and other users, especially on busy days when the street is full of people.”

Oxford Mail: Councillors Michael Waine and Donna Ford.Councillors Michael Waine and Donna Ford. (Image: Contribution.)

Mr Pruden suggested alternative cycling provision around town ought to be considered and agreed with other councillors that a proper assessment should be undertaken before any decision being made.

But Mr Waine added: “There is no clear rationale for this project given that, as with vehicles, there are readily available roads for cyclists around the town centre.

“And, there is no indication as to how the two way movement of bicycles will work particularly in the more restricted parts of the street.”

Councillor Donna Ford said: “Oxfordshire County Council should be open and honest with the residents of Bicester and conduct a full public consultation on this change before implementing it by stealth without seeking public opinion.

"There are lots of questions still to be answered around how this would work with regards to two-way cycling vs one-way traffic, the effect on the much-loved Friday market and other public events.”

Mr Waine concluded: “This is too major a proposal to agree an experimental 18 month period.”

Oxford Mail: Sheep Street.Sheep Street. (Image: Google Maps.)

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: “Oxfordshire County Council is carrying out initial consultation with key stakeholders to inform a formal decision about whether to implement an Experimental Traffic Order (ETO) to allow for two-way cycling on Sheep Street.

"Should Oxfordshire County Council decide to progress with the ETO, the views of everyone will be gathered during an initial six-month period once the experiment is in place.

"The information received from this public consultation will be used to help decide whether the scheme is made permanent or not after the 18-month trial period has ended.

"Additionally, it should be noted that the scheme can be amended at any time during its operation and even ended early should officers feel that necessary.”