PLANS to Transform Oxford railway station and the A34 as part of the most extensive transport project in the city’s history have been shelved.

In 2007 the county council was allocated £62m for its ambitious Access to Oxford project, which promised to expand the railway station and tackle congestion on the A34 as well as the city’s ring road.

At the time the county’s then transport chief David Robertson said it was “the largest sum for transport ever handed to Oxfordshire”.

Funding for the scheme became uncertain when the Regional Transport Board was abolished by the coalition Government in June 2010.

Now it has emerged County Hall has missed out on the cash after the Department of Transport overlooked the project and chose to spend £2.3bn on 24 other transport schemes instead.

Commuters now face missing out on the £12.5m expansion of the station for the foreseeable future as Network Rail’s funding for the scheme is dependent on the council getting the cash.

A further £47m of investment to cut congestion on the A34 and install new slip lanes and bus lanes on the northern and southern approaches into Oxford also hang in the balance.

Hugh Jaeger, spokesman for the Railfuture campaign group and Bus Users UK in Oxfordshire said: “This is a disaster.

“The buses will lose out, the trains will lose out and the poor people trying to get into Oxford will lose out.”

The blow comes just six weeks after the city council gave planning permission for the expansion of the station.

The plan would see a new platform added south of the Botley Road to reduce passenger congestion and improve journey times to London.

Chairman of the Oxford-Bicester Rail Action Group Dr Ian East said: “Oxford Station really did need reconfiguration and expansion.

“At the busiest times it’s overcrowded and heading towards being dangerous.”

The station is at the start or end of 5.6 million train journeys a year, with passenger numbers at Oxford rising by 16.5 per cent in 2008/09.

County Hall can now submit new bids for cash to the £560m Local Sustainable Transport Fund and £400m Regional Growth Fund in April next year.

However, with public finances tight it is unclear what scale of project the council will be able win cash for.

Earlier this year councillor Ian Hudspeth, the council’s cabinet member for growth and infrastructure, made a personal appeal to Prime Minister David Cameron to try and secure the cash.

He said: “This is bitterly disappointing news. Having initially secured funding we have now become victims of the nation’s financial woes and the Government’s efforts to resolve them.

“However, we must retain our ambitions and push our case to central government at any and every opportunity.”

Missing this funding does not affect the council’s ability to fund Transform Oxford or improve Frideswide Square.

However, these projects are currently part of the council’s review of all its capital spending.

Plans to change Heyford Hill roundabout are also not expected to be affected.

Network Rail spokesman Russell Spink confirmed that Network Rail’s cash for Oxford station was not ring-fenced.

He said: “The loss of the county council’s funding is a blow, but all parties are determined to find a solution which allows us to deliver this scheme.”

DfT spokesman Paul Starbrook said: “The Access for Oxford scheme did not secure funding through the regional funding and we would therefore encourage the promoters to look at alternative funding mechanisms.”

Labour MP for Oxford East Andrew Smith said: “This is really bad news. I wrote to the Government strongly supporting the county bid.

“This Coalition decision is cutting off its nose to spite its face because Oxford is an economic powerhouse for the region and the country.

“These improvements would have boosted the economy as well as making travel better for local people.

“I will work with the county council to continue to press our case at every opportunity.”

Conservative MP for Abingdon and Oxford West Nicola Blackwood said: “This decision is obviously a big disappointment for all of us.

“But we are dealing with one of the most serious fiscal crises this country has faced in the last 50 years and the Government’s first priority has to be to get the public finances back in order.

“Access to Oxford is an important project that would offer a significant economic boost to our region, not to mention improve the quality of life of many residents.

“I have already written on this issue to Philip Hammond, Transport Secretary, and will continue to work with the county council to take our case to the Government.

“I hope that Oxfordshire’s new status as a local enterprise partnership will help strengthen our cause.”

Conservative MP for Henley John Howell said: “I agree with the county council that it is a shame, but I’m not surprised given the way we’ve been left with no money by the previous government.

“More important than that, the bid made by the county council and others for one of the new local enterprise partnerships has been approved, which presents an exciting opportunity to grasp the issue of infrastructure for the Oxfordshire region as a whole.

“And who knows what that may produce for transport in the local area.”

Conservative MP for Banbury Tony Baldry said he was confident the privately funded Bicester-to-Oxford rail project would go ahead. He said: “ Clearly it’s a time when all public spending is being substantially reduced so it’s not surprising programmes such as this are being cut back.”

Conservative MP for Witney David Cameron was in Brussels last night and unavailable for comment. Conservative MP for Wantage Ed Vaizey did not return our calls.

A new bus interchange in Mansfield, a plan to make Ipswich’s transport infrastructure fit for the 21st century and a new south entrance to Leeds train station were among the 24 schemes to win funding from the Government.

More than 16 roads projects were among those winning funding from Transport Secretary Philip Hammond including improvements on the M25, M60 in Manchester and M1 in Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

The Government will spend £8.6m on a new bus station in the heart of Mansfield bringing it closer to the town’s trains with a new pedestrian bridge. Meanwhile, a £14m project to build a new south entrance to Leeds railway station will make it more accessible to 20,000 passengers who head in that direction each day.

In Ipswich rebuilt bus stations, a computerised traffic management and improvements to the town’s cycle network will cost about £25m. Although not included in this cash, an £850m revamp of Reading train station and the surrounding track network will start in earnest in December.