New bridge is ‘not good use of £10m’

Last month the city council approved plans for the Oxpens River Bridge, which will link Grandpont Nature Park to Oxpens Meadow.

But the decision was ‘called in’ by at least 12 councillors – and referred to the council’s planning review committee for further consideration.

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The committee takes place on Thursday, April 18 at County Hall in New Road at 6pm.

Green city councillor Lois Muddiman was one of the councillors who called in the decision.

Oxford Mail: Trees near the proposed new Grandpont bridgeIn a letter to The Oxford Times, she suggested the investment would not be a good use of public funds.

The city councillor for Osney and St Thomas ward wrote: “Oxford City Council’s proposed new pedestrian and cycle bridge from Grandpont Nature Park to Oxpens Meadow, over the River Thames, is not a good use of over £10m of public money for many reasons.

“Firstly, there are two other pedestrian and cycle bridges very nearby.

“Having three pedestrian and cycle bridges so close together is not a good use of our limited resources.

Oxford Mail: Green city councillor Lois Muddiman“Secondly, the proposed bridge is intended to support Oxford University’s future plans for the development of Osney Mead.

“These plans are dominated by employment or education space with limited student or staff accommodation.

“If the university wants a third pedestrian and cycle bridge in this location, they should pay for it, not the taxpayer.”

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Ms Muddiman added: “Thirdly, connecting the proposed bridge to the Osney Mead development in the future, would likely involve lowering the footpath under the railway bridge, beside the river.

“This would inevitably lead to more expense for the Environment Agency when the area floods, as it regularly does.

“£10m of our money could be much better used to provide new cycle and pedestrian infrastructure elsewhere.”

In February protesters gathered at the nature reserve assembled to complain about the premature felling of trees to make way for for the bridge.

The group of residents opposed plans to proceed with construction of the bridge.

Campaigner and former councillor Deborah Glass Woodin complained that some tree felling took place before there was a council vote on the new bridge.

A forestry commission officer said six trees felled had been “just about” within the legal limit, but planning permission or a licence was required to cut down any further trees.

The planning review committee is recommended to approve the application for the new bridge.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.

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