A MASSIVE flyover over the A40 to link a new housing estate with the city is being planned for buses, cyclists and pedestrians – but not cars.

The multi-million pound scheme would aim to help cope with the impact of about 1,000 new homes planned for the north west edge of Barton.

But Barton Bridge – as it has been dubbed – would be off limits for general traffic, while aiming to help ease the bottleneck out of the estate.

The idea, contained in planning documents, was last night met with a mixture of scepticism over its potential cost and enthusiasm about providing a quick route out of the estate.

Although there is no definite idea as to where the bridge would go from and to, an area close to Dunstan Road and Foxwell Drive in Northway has been mooted, with the Barton side on farmland close to Barton Village Road.

The idea is to connect the new houses with the back of the John Radcliffe Hospital using public transport.

Radical improvements could also be made to the Green Road roundabout – possibly install-ing traffic lights at the Barton entrance and exit.

Oxford’s chief planner Michael Crofton-Briggs told the Oxford Mail: “One of the key things we know about Barton is that it sits on the wrong side of the ring road and the city.

“We want to look at how we can improve the lot of Barton, so we are looking at helping integration between the estate and the city.

“How we get a route between Barton and the city is where the idea of a bridge came from.”

Provision for new housebuilding on the edge of the estate is contained in the city council’s core strategy plan.

City Liberal Democrat group leader David Rundle said: “A road bridge closed to most road-users sounds like a bad joke. A pedestrian and cycle bridge like the one at Cuttleslowe is what’s needed.

“Anything bigger and it would gobble up money and land – both green space in Northway and land needed for building in Barton.

“What’s on the table now would turn Northway into a through-route without helping Barton.

“Any new estate really needs to be made fully part of Barton, not cut off from it.”

Paul Ridgley, 46, of Bernwood Road, Barton, said: “We definitely need something, but that is not the answer. I don’t see the point in having it for buses and not cars.”

Barton Community Association secretary Sue Holden said: “They have got to do something because they can’t build 1,000 new houses without looking at the transport infrastructure. This can only be good for the residents of Barton.”

Patrick Murray, city councillor for Barton and Sandhills, said: “My personal view on the bridge is it’s a bad idea.”

Ed Turner, the deputy leader of the Labour-run city council, added: “I would urge everyone – particularly local councillors – to approach this with an open mind until the transport experts have reported on what is feasible and what isn’t.”