OXFORD City Council has come under fire after repairing a historic cobbled street in the city with asphalt.

One passer-by said the repair work had left Merton Street dotted with “ugly” black patches and called for new cobbles to be installed.

Last night, the city council said the repairs were temporary and it was waiting for funding to complete the project.

Pete Bonney, 70, of Wood Farm, first saw the repair work yesterday.

He said: “It’s scandalous – the road looks awful now.

“Merton Street is a historic part of Oxford and cobble roads are what gives it so much of its character.

“Now there are great big black splodges all down it and it has really ruined the area.”

Mr Bonney, who fundraises for homeless people in the city, added: “They should have replaced the cobbles so the road looked like it did before. This is just lazy.

“You can see how many tourists go down there for tours and taking pictures.

“The pictures won’t be as nice now, that’s for sure.”

Last night, no-one from the civic society was available for comment.

City council spokesman Annette Cunningham said said: “The recent repairs to the road surface in Merton Street are intended as a temporary measure. Approval for works from English Heritage and securing funding from Oxfordshire County Council are both necessary before further work commences.”

However, the county council, which is the highways authority, said it had yet to receive an application for funding.

Spokesman Owen Morton said: “From what the city are saying it suggests they intend to apply for funding for further work on this street.”

Oxford University colleges Merton, Corpus Christi, University and Christ Church all have entrances on Merton Street.

The part of Merton Street which joins High Street used to be known as Coach and Horses Lane, named after a former pub on the street. Between the early 18th and late 19th century it was called King Street.

The rest of the street, which runs from east to west, was originally called St John Baptist’s Street after the church which is now Merton College’s chapel.