The controversy surrounding Low Traffic Neighbourhoods has intensified in recent weeks, with the anti-LTN and traffic protest on Saturday drawing thousands to Broad Street and Cowley Road.

The march attracted activists, conspiracy theorists such as Piers Corbyn and the retired actor who is now a full time anti-vaxxer Laurence Fox.

The issue with this protest was the far right activists stole the spotlight, who had come from afar to hijack the protest to promote their dangerous and ill-informed ideology.

Their ideas and attacks on the ‘globalists’ were given oxygen, while the genuine concerns of independent business owners were more easily forgotten.

Since the LTNs were installed in East Oxford, Oxfordshire County Council has faced a fierce backlash from traders on Cowley Road and St Clement’s.

The planters and bollards are a cause of dismay for business owners, as they argue that potential customers driving from outside Oxford can no longer easily pop into their restaurants or cafes.

The once lively Cowley Road is no more, they say. Hearing first hand about the impact of the LTNs is sobering.

What they tell us is shocking.

Restaurant owners said councillors had made little effort to reach out to them to hear their concerns about the LTNs.

As our reporter scribbled away in his notepad, it was evident they appreciated that for once they were being listened to.

Their restaurants were very obviously empty and missing the customers they so badly need. Frequently, pro-LTN campaigners and anti-LTN campaigners clash over social media and the debate seems very toxic.

But the stark reality of councillors not engaging with the businesses in the areas for which they are responsible is shocking when we are told bankruptcy is not too far away for these businesses unless something is done to rectify the problems caused by well-intentioned measures to control traffic and encourage cycling.

Nobody is doubting the good motivations of councillors, and the business owners themselves are not against promoting greener methods of transport.

However, surely a solution must exist where businesses can thrive and co-exist with transport schemes which encourage people to use their bikes more regularly.

The cost of living crisis is already causing a headache for businesses, with people having to make cut-backs on eating out at the weekends.

But Cowley Road is an example of Britain at its best, with an economically and ethnically diverse population which is the heart and soul behind the bustling nightlife which so many in Oxford enjoy.

It would be a great shame if due to the lack of trying to bring together both sides of the LTN debate, these businesses continued to struggle alone. Let’s hope that our councillors and those in positions of authority also take a stroll down Cowley Road more frequently – and listen.

Only through greater conversation can further progress be made in finding a solution to the dilemma.