Protesters assembled outside County Hall to protest against a controversial and "unnecessary" Oxford bridge and share their thoughts during a heated meeting.

The Friends of GNP (Grandpont Nature Park) members stood outside the Oxfordshire County Council office on Tuesday with placards ahead of the meeting, ready to present a 1,500-strong petition to members of the chamber.

They were objecting to plans for the Oxpens River Bridge which committee members at an Oxford City Council planning meeting gave the green light to in March.

The bridge will link Osney Mead to Oxpens.The bridge will link Osney Mead to Oxpens. (Image: Oxfordshire County Council)

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The bridge will link Grandpont Nature Park to Oxpens meadow, the site of a new Oxford quarter and it also relies on county council support.

Objectors have questioned the need for an additional £10m bridge at the Grandpont Nature Reserve when there is already one "two minutes away" and suggested it would "trash" the local habitat.

Speaking out at the meeting, objector Dan Glazebrook said: "Grandpont Nature Reserve is a beautiful and much-loved piece of countryside, essential to the health and wellbeing of thousands of local residents.

Grandpont Nature Park.Grandpont Nature Park. (Image: Contribution.)

"Yet there not a single residents’ group in Grandpont has been consulted about the bridge and the urbanisation of the reserve entailed by the destruction of the current footpath and its replacement by a 4.5m cycle highway.

"Councillors, this is just as much a county council project as it is a city council one. 

"You are paying for it - and, as the highways authority, you are going to ‘adopt’ it once it is built.

"You are essentially paying the city council to build it for you.

"The collaboration agreement between the two councils states that the county can pull out and demand return of the funds if the city has made untrue or misleading representations concerning the bridge."

Objector Dan Glazebrook speaks out at the meeting.Objector Dan Glazebrook speaks out at the meeting. (Image: OCC.)

Addressing the chairman, Alison Rooke, after his speech, Mr Glazebrook said the Save GNP group would like a meeting with a political representative of the council.

Ms Rooke said "sorry we have to move on now" and suggested the council would not be able to provide an answer right now.

Mr Glazebrook asked whether that was "a no".

The protest comes as Hinksey Park ward Labour councillor Anna Railton has defended the bridge saying it was passed "through two committees made up of democratically elected members". 

Anna Railton.Anna Railton. (Image: Oxford City Council.)

She added: "Both times members failed to find a valid planning reason for refusal.

"I have consistently and openly backed this scheme as walking and cycling infrastructure that enables much needed housing and brings the paths in Grandpont Nature Reserve up to current standards before lots more people start to use it.

"It uses funding that will very likely otherwise be spent on a road project elsewhere in the county.

"As ward member I have spoken to and emailed a few hundred people about this and it is fair to say opinion is split."

Protesters have been told their is normally a 10-day wait for formal responses to a petition.