A COMMUNITY leader has taken his battle to save a much-loved Oxford subway all the way to 10 Downing Street.

Oxfordshire County Council is set to fill in the popular Headington subway as part of the second phase of a £3m scheme to tackle traffic congestion in London Road.

The improvements mean the 1970s subway will be closed at a cost of £45,000 and replaced with a pedestrian crossing.

Yesterday, Mick Haines took a 2,411-signature petition to Number 10 to try to save the Kennett Road underpass. Work to fill it in will not start until next year at the earliest.

Mr Haines, 68, of Croft Road said: “The fight will go on to save the subway and I hope this has some impact.

“The people of Headington want to keep it because it’s an asset from a safety point of view.

“Also it is a part of Headington’s history and if they take it away they are taking part of Headington away.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous. Why would you want to get rid of something that’s worked for so many years and provided safety?”

A survey by Headington city councillor David Rundle revealed 61 per cent of residents were in favour of keeping the subway and he says it should be kept alongside a new crossing.

But the county council said its survey showed that 58 per cent of Headington residents were in favour of scrapping it when they realised there would be a replacement crossing.

County engineer Colin Baird said at a meeting earlier this month that the current subway would not be permitted under modern building standards as the ramps are too steep for people with mobility problems.

He said it would be impossible to accommodate both crossings without an expensive rejig of the first phase of the scheme.

There have been 40 road accidents involving pedestrians crossing London Road over the last five years.

County council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: "The replacement high-quality pelican crossing will provide everybody with a safe way of getting over the road as many people choose not to use the subway currently. Crossings in Oxford have an excellent safety record and the subway's ramps present a hazard in wet or icy weather.”

Downing Street spokesman Derek Smith said: “We are going to ask the Department of Communities and Local Government to respond.”