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County asks people's views on strategy - under duress
MEMBERS of the public are being asked for their views on plans to improve transport in Headington after the county council “changed tack”.
Last month Oxfordshire County Council staged a review of measures to combat congestion in the area.
But the authority initially asked only the city’s two universities and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust for their views.
Concerns were raised that the public were left in the dark, and this week the council said it would consult more widely on its ideas.
Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “In the early stages we had not set out a specific plan or timetable for consultation.
“Over the summer, county council officers have had very useful briefing meetings with county and city councillors for the area, where the topic of how the local community should be involved in the project was discussed in some detail.”
Headington and Quarry county councillor Roz Smith welcomed the move but said the decision should have been made earlier.
She said: “The county council has finally listened.
“It’s a good thing there is a consultation, but why did it take questions to cabinet members before they decided to consult with residents?”
The public consultation on the review, which will look at how to relieve congestion, will last until September 27.
The council’s cabinet member for transport, David Nimmo Smith, said: “It’s a change of tack to get people involved."
The public had been excluded because the council wanted to “work out in our own minds what the best option was first”.
He said: “If you start with a blank piece of paper and ask people what they want you get all sorts of things put forward which aren’t going to be possible. You have got to start with something which the council thinks is deliverable and then you can tweak it.”
Chairman of Headington Transport Group Charles Young agreed with Cllr Smith. He said: “It was a great disappointment that they got as far as they did before consulting residents.
“It’s pleasing that residents can have their say but I would like to have seen it done earlier.”
Have your say
How people can comment on the Headington Transport Strategy:
- At https://myconsultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk
- Send email reponses to: LTS.Team@oxfordshire.gov.uk
- Write to: Headington Transport (SW), Speedwell House, Speedwell Street, Oxford, OX1 1NE
- County council transport officers will be on hand at the Headington Farmers’ Market, in Kennett Road, on the morning of Friday, September 13, to explain the plans and hear comments
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