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Greens’ idea to cut cars on Barton branded ‘ludicrous’
A CALL for parts of the planned Barton West development in Oxford to be made car-free has been labelled ludicrous.
County council Green group leader David Williams has called for the 885-home new estate to be built with fewer residential parking spaces.
But he was unable to explain exactly how his plan would affect the layout, or how it would be achieved.
He said his proposal, which has been made in response to a consultation on a new transport strategy for the north east of the city, would help cut congestion in already busy areas of the city, like Headington.
He said: “The biggest change in the Headington area in the immediate future will be 885 new homes at Barton West.
“Typically, new homes have an average of two vehicles. “So, in an area with serious traffic congestion, about 1,770 new vehicles will be added by this development alone.
“This justifies new exemplary measures by both county and city councils to ensure the new development is well integrated into walking, cycling and bus networks and that additional traffic is minimised.
“One major new initiative Oxfordshire Green Party suggests is an area of car-free housing in the Barton West development.”
The current plans for Barton will include 1,503 spaces, but Mr Williams said this number should be reduced.
But Barton Community Association chairman Sue Holden said the policy, if approved, would cause huge problems for existing Barton residents.
She said: “It’s an absolutely ludicrous suggestion. “I would question if members of the Green Party have ever lived in a car-free area, but that’s beside the point.
“What will happen if we made the new development car-free is all of these people with cars would park on the existing Barton estate, which will clog up all the roads.”
Mr Williams added: “Since about one in five households in the UK do not have cars.
“It is possible to have new developments without the customary allocations of car parking spaces.
“This leaves more space for housing and gardens. “Under planning arrangements, a section 106 agreement can be used to place a condition on part of the new development to have some car-free housing.
“Traffic lights need to be moved to the Collingwood Road junction to serve Risinghurst residents. “Current conditions for pedestrians — crossing a road where cars move at high speed — are unacceptable and are likely to lead to accidents involving fatalities.
“The elderly or less mobile may well be deterred from using buses, given such intimidating road conditions.”
City councillor Mike Rowley, who represents Barton for Labour, said: “If you have no allocation of parking spaces in Barton West, the existing estate and Northway estate will be deluged with parking from people who live in the new development.
“Nice as it would be to have a car-free estate, it’s totally impractical where some people are going to be working in various different locations.”
County council spokesman Paul Smith said: “This submission will be lodged alongside other responses as part of the overall consultation that is taking place.”
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