WHEN the Marston Meadows cycle track was put in in the early 1990s, it was done after several years of discussions between the university and Oxfordshire County Council. Some repairs are carried out by University Parks, others by the county council.

The land itself still belongs to the University of Oxford and as such it is a permissive route, with no legal public right of way. Most owners of such tracks generally close them for a day or so each year to assert their ownership. If they did not do so and members of the public were to have unbroken access for 20 years then a public right of way would be established. The University obviously wants to maintain its ownership of the land. Had it not been able to do so back in the 1990s then I very much doubt that the track would have gone ahead and the thousands of pedestrians and cyclists who use that track now would have to do a long detour around Marston Ferry Road or risk their lives negotiating St Clement’s.

Closing the track on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day means that cyclists who rely upon the route to get to work are not inconvenienced. I agree that it is a shame that young cyclists don’t get the opportunity to use this track on these days, but it is only two days a year and Marston is blessed with far more safe off-road cycle tracks than most parts of Oxford. For recreational cyclists and children, the route up to Old Marston via Croft Road recreation ground is open as that is city council-owned land.

Although I understand Dr Ben Kenward’s irritation (Letters, January 4), I do not think that there is anything that either the city or county council can do about these closures.

Marston Ward
Oxford City Council