Barriers to ease congestion in Oxfordshire divides neighbourhoods

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Penny Silvester

Furious residents in Oxfordshire claim they have not been properly consulted over plans to close roads to create 'Low Traffic Neighbourhoods'. 

They are designed to stop motorists using residential roads as rat-runs and to encourage walking and cycling.

However residents in Cowley are angry about the plans to install more barriers.

They say many of the area's residents are shop and hospital workers who need to drive to work and take their children to school, and it is unfair for people with disabilities.

Sadiea Mustafa-Awan, a campaigner from Reconnecting Oxford, said: "If you cut off the side streets and increase traffic on these main roads, it means that someone whose life is already very difficult because of their physical disabilities etc. has to plan extra time for their journey."

The council says the scheme is to tackle chronic congestion in the city and to cut pollution.

Councillor Tim Bearder from Oxfordshire County Council said: "We have to do something radically different for safety, pollution and environment reasons.

"You guarantee routes to everyone's homes but they might be slightly longer and more traffic at peaks." 

Some long-standing residents say these types of schemes have been tried and failed in the past.Resident Anthony Cheke said: "Back in 1985 the city council closed off all roads on the north side of the Cowley road. This plan is double the amount of blockages and therefore double the amount of chaos."

The council says it will not put in any more barriers until a full consultation has been carried out.