CONTROVERSIAL plans to impose a 40mph speed limit on Oxford’s ring road have been dropped by city planning chiefs.

The city council proposals had proved a significant sticking point during this week’s inquiry into plans for up to 1,200 new homes near Barton.

The Town Hall hearing has seen Oxford City Council try to persuade government planning inspector Shelagh Bussey to approve the Barton Area Action Plan.

But Oxfordshire County Council , the highways authority, had objected to plans to lower the speed limit on the A40 to 40mph saying it was a “strategic” road.

Yesterday the city council was told the idea, which included building pedestrian crossings across the carriageway, was not appropriate.

Dr Bussey said: “I am not convinced that [this] policy is sound, particularly in terms of justification and possibly effectiveness.

“From the evidence presented, it seems that a speed limit of 50mph would be most appropriate.

Safety and economic concerns led her to believe that plans to lower the speed limit were “not the most appropriate”, she said.

She added that there was no “reasonable prospect” of the plan being implemented because of the level of objections to it.

A number of Northway residents had also raised concerns about the plans for the ring road.

But yesterday Michael Crofton-Briggs, the council’s head of city development, said: “In our view we have only received a series of vague accusations from people who have been unable to visualise what we are proposing.”

It was, he said, “a matter of regret” that he had been unable to convince the county council of the value of the scheme.

The city council has removed its requirement of 40mph but still says it aims to reduce the current 70mph limit along that stretch.

It has also dropped its insistence on having homes facing onto the ring road. A two-day public hearing will be held in September, before Dr Bussey makes a decision.