Oxford Conservative Association commends Oxfordshire County Council on its decision today to scrap plans to implement temporary bus gates in Oxford.
The council’s cabinet today decided to unanimously support the recommendation of the Director of Planning not to proceed with the bus gates and to further consult on the other proposed bus gates.
Oxford Conservatives Chairman Mark Bhagwandin said: “We have both written and spoken to the county council about the bus gates. We are pleased to see that councillors have listened to the views of businesses and residents who would have been directly affected by them. We commend them for refusing to bow to pressure from the Labour city council to implement the bus gates. We also urge the county council to rethink its collaboration with the city council in the Reconnecting Oxford Plan which still seeks to implement five permanent bus gates. These along with the other two proposed for funding under Tranche 2 of the Active Travel Grant, should be scrapped.
It is absolutely necessary that the livelihood of thousands of workers are not put at risk by schemes like these which could have a devastating effect on businesses already reeling from the effects of Covid-19. Representatives of those businesses spoke out passionately against the bus gates today and they should be listened to.
We maintain that bus gates will result in longer journey times and increased congestion with traffic being forced on to the ring road, both causing higher levels of emissions and pollution. We can imagine situations where emergency workers travelling in to work are held up in lengthy journeys thereby affecting key and critical services. Oxford Conservatives stand ready to champion and support sensible measures which actually do protect the environment. The bus gates proposed for Oxford are senseless and disruptive and do not achieve this end. They will cause great hardships for residents and businesses and put people’s jobs at risk.
Oxford Conservatives will always put people above politics and all other considerations. We commend the county council for its decision today.”
Oxford Conservatives have called for Oxfordshire County Council to rethink current proposals to introduce bus gates into Oxford’s city centre. A consultation has just concluded for two proposed bus gates in the city centre, with consultation due in the autumn for further proposed bus gates around the city.
Conservative Chairman Daniel Stafford said ‘This is the wrong solution for Oxford’s residents. The bus gates are being proposed to reduce harmful emissions. They will have the opposite effect, forcing even more cars onto the already congested ring road.’
‘Many residents already can and do make use of active transport such as cycling. Now is not the time to force those who use cars from necessity to choose between being trapped at home, or taking unnecessary risks on public transport.’
‘At a time when residents are desperate to stay connected, and many small businesses are on the margins of survival, a policy that cuts residents off from other parts of the city is the last thing Oxford needs. We call upon the County Council to abandon their original plans, and to bring forward fresh proposals that do not needlessly victimise residents who have no choice but to travel by car.’
RIP Owen Jones
Tribute From Mark Bhagwandin Vice President Oxford Conservative Association
Today I said a sad farewell to a dear friend Owen Wynford Jones from Marston. Owen was a wonderful, thoughtful, kind and intelligent person. He was a brilliant contributor to the Conservative Policy Forum and will be greatly missed by all of his friends at Oxford Conservative Association. Rest in Peace Owen.
Oxford Conservative Association calls on Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to immediately scrap their plans to implement bus gates in Oxford.
The two councils have been colaborating on projects to install up to seven bus gates in Oxford despite objections from residents and businesses.
Oxford Conservatives Chairman Daniel Stafford said "Oxford Conservatives are firmly against the bus gate proposals. We have written to County Council Leader Ian Hudspeth outlining reasons why the bus gates are bad for the environment, bad for business and bad for residents.
The bus gates will result in longer journey times and increased congestion with traffic being forced onto the ring road, both causing higher levls of emmisions. Residents who have been warned to stay away from public transport because of Covid-19 and those who have no choice but to use vehicles will face long delays as they try and get across the city. Many resident already can and do make use of active transport such as cycling. Now is not the time to force those who use cars as a necessity to choose between being trapped at home and taking unnecessary risks on public transport.
Contrary to the public utterances of Labour Councillor Tom Hayes, most businesses are completely against the bus gates and predict they will have a devastating effect on their business. At a time when businesses are reeling from the effects of Covid-19, it is disappointing and completely unacceptable for local councils to experiment with their financial viability, especially with schemes that make absolutely no environmental sense. The councils are using government funds to implement measures which contradict the Governments policy to protect businesses and jobs in these difficult times.
At a time when residents are desperate to stay connected, and many small businesses are on the margins of survival, a policy that cuts residents off from other parts of the city is the last thing Oxford needs. It is imperative that good sense prevails and the councils desist immediately from these damaging and devastating plans."
Oxford Conservative Association welcomes reassurances from Thames Valley Police that significant steps are being taken to prevent “Ram Raids” on ATM machines.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber and Oxford Conservatives Chairman Daniel Stafford, visited an ATM at Littlemore Post Office, which has been out of service after a raid last month.
Speaking to the owners, Mr Barber said “These crimes are being closely monitored as part of Operation Shire, a cross-force operation that is focused on catching and prosecuting those responsible. By working closely with communities we are gathering useful intelligence to make these raids less likely, and to increase the likelihood they will be brought to justice.
I sympathise with local businesses which bear the brunt of these criminal acts, and more and more residents who rely on fewer and fewer ATM machines. I can reassure both businesses and residents that the number of these kind of crimes has been decreasing in Oxfordshire, and we are using all the tactics at our disposal to make this sort of crime harder to get away with.”
Oxford Conservative Chairman Daniel Stafford, a Littlemore resident, welcomed Mr Barber’s statement. He said “Our community is reliant upon this cash-point for many local shops and services, and I would encourage local residents to contact the service provider highlighting the proactive and positive role Thames Valley Police are taking to prevent further crimes. As a Littlemore resident I am very pleased and encouraged that the Deputy PCC has taken the time to keep local businesses informed about the steps they are taking to prevent further crime in this area.”