Residents' groups are holding a crisis meeting to discuss how to stop plans for a £36m guided busway through Oxford.

The Guided Transit Express (GTE) - which could be in place by 2008 - would run on a concrete track near the railway line through the city, linking Redbridge park-and-ride site in the south and Peartree in the north with the railway station.

Oxfordshire County Council intends to submit a fully costed bid for Government support in July.

But the plan has angered many residents living along the proposed route.

Hinksey Park area residents' association, St Ebbes new development residents' association, Rewley Park management committee and the Wolvercote Commoners have joined forces to campaign against the GTE project.

They say it would involve a major concrete structure along Green Belt margins and intrude into the Grandpont Nature Park, Wolvercote Green and the Trap Grounds.

It would also involve realigning the canal and building a bridge across the Oxford-Bicester railway, which they claim would cause "substantial environmental damage".

Wolvercote Commoners' chairman David Humphrey said a meeting at Oxford Town Hall in St Aldate's on Thursday, April 29, at 7pm would be the first phase of an awareness raising exercise. He said: "I don't think people are aware of what is about to happen. The council says it will cut down traffic without getting in the way of the Woodstock Road but they haven't told people how they are going to achieve it.

"They are being very quiet about the downfalls of the GTE. There are 101 things you could do with £36m, they haven't considered the alternatives.

"By the time it goes to public consultation it will be down to a few weeks before a decision is made.

"We have got to start making people realise exactly what we are looking at."

But Noel Newson, group manager for sustainable transport at the county council, declined an invitation to the meeting as, he said, the council did not have "anything meaningful to put in front of the public at this time".

He said: "We felt it would be inappropriate to go the meeting as the public would be expecting us to answer questions. Even if the Government says they think it is a good idea, it is not the same as them giving us permission to do it."