Annual General Meeting
Sushila Dhall (Chair)
Don O’Neal (Treasurer)
Deborah Glass-Woodin (Stalls)
Chris Cowley (Secretary)
Keith Frayn (Newsletter editor)
Cinderella Lingwood (Website and Social Media)
Cllr Yvonne Constance (Speaker)
Members: Peter Headicar, Andy Chivers, Alison Hill, Ruth Davis, Scott Urban, Bob Cowley, Linda Cowley, Nick Wilcox, Susan Tibbles, Penny Jacques, Hilary Walker, Simon Hunt, James Forder, Graham Smith, Richard Bradley, Annemarie Heslop, Carolyn McCrum, Michael Harker Tait, Dermot Road, Patrick Coulter, Marie Powers
No apologies were received
- Minutes of the last AGM, 19th November 2019
The minutes of the 2019 AGM were shared on screen. The minutes were approved by the meeting and there were no matters arising.
- Sushila read out the Chair’s report which had already been circulated to members. Her report was approved unanimously by the meeting (Proposed Deborah Glass Woodin: Seconded Keith Frayn)
- The Treasurer’s report had already been circulated to members. Don reported that our expenditure is now greater than our income. The meeting discussed raising the membership fee and an increase to £7 per year (£5 concessions) was agreed unanimously (Proposed Graham Smith: Seconded Keith Frayn).
- Deborah Glass Woodin reported that there had been no stalls in 2020 due to the pandemic. This had also affected OxPA’s income. Our merchandise has recently been re-stocked and will be available to purchase from our website in due course (in the meantime, requests for purchase should be sent to Sushila by email).
- Keith Frayn reported that OxPA had produced 4 newsletters in 2020.
- Cinderella Lingwood reported that she is aiming to attract more younger members and would welcome technical help with Instagram and TikTok.
- Election of Officers
The present committee had all agreed to stand for re-election. There were no other nominations. The present members all were re-elected unanimously (Proposed Carolyn McCrum: Seconded Linda Cowley).
Any other OxPA members who would like to get more actively involved should make contact with a member of the committee.
The meeting closed at about 19:30 and was followed by a talk by Cllr Yvonne Constance, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Climate
Cllr Constance said that motorised vehicles had come to dominate our cities. In Oxford, average speeds on arterial roads had been as low as 5mph, leading to congestion for buses. Indeed, the failure of the Pick me Up scheme was largely due to traffic congestion. However, there are 100,000 walking trips in Oxford per day. Pedestrians are important.
Cllr Constance understood that consultation took a long time but reassured the meeting that all voices are heard. The importance of consultation was highlighted by the ongoing debate about the Walton Street closure. She had been in London at the time the congestion charge was introduced and saw first-hand that change is possible. Covid-19 had delayed the County Council’s plans for improvements in traffic management in Oxford. However, there are big ambitions for change in the next 2 years:
- Three Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are being introduced in the Cowley area in March, with other areas of the city following later.
- Nine further Controlled Parking Zones are being planned for 2021 which will reduce commuter parking in residential streets.
- The Zero Emission Zone in the city centre is being piloted from August 2021 for one year, after which it could be extended to the whole of central Oxford.
- The LCWIP aims to make improvements for walkers and cyclists but funding remains an issue. Private funding has not been forthcoming to date.
- The use of e-scooters is being trialled in Headington (but Cllr Constance expressed concerns about them being used on pavements).
- Improving the public realm, in particular St Giles and Broad Street.
- Improving access to the railway station.
- Improving the shopping centres in Headington, Cowley, Summertown and Botley.
- Banning pavement parking.
- The extension of 20mph speed limits to more areas of the city.
- The creating of quality pedestrian corridors, free from obstacles.
- Consultation on Connecting Oxford is to resume in the Autumn. The aim of one part of this scheme is to introduce a workplace parking levy which would be used to pay for improvements to bus services in the eastern arc.
- The provision of more Park and Ride sites (possibly in the market towns) with a rapid bus service into Oxford.
Cllr Constance then answered questions.
Q: Why is a congestion charge not being considered?
A: Setting up the infrastructure is too expensive for a town the size of Oxford.
Q: Could improvements for pedestrians and cyclists be incorporated to regular maintenance / rebuilding of street?
A: This is less viable since budgets have been reduced. Such improvements are expensive.
Comment: The co-production process being proposed for the Woodstock and Banbury Roads is a welcome development.
Comment: Evidence suggests that cyclists’ behaviour improves when they have good infrastructure.
Q: Why aren’t there separate strategies for cyclists and pedestrians as they have different needs which are sometimes in competition?
A: Road widths are insufficient in our medieval city. Funding is also an issue.
Q: A lot of money has been spent on the Botley Road but cyclists and pedestrians still have to share the same space. Little had changed.
A: There are too many motorised vehicles and not enough funding.
Comment: In addition to consultation, perhaps there should be more draconian measures to bring about change.
Q: Could the amount of road space available to motorists be reduced and more allocated to cyclists.
A: Oxford’s streets are narrow and lanes need to be wide enough for buses.
Q: If the new LTNs lead to more traffic on arterial roads, could this result in opposition to the scheme.
A: Some opposition is inevitable.
Comment: Oxford is situated in a busy part of the country, with high levels of through traffic on the ring road and the A34.
Comment: It might help the message to introduce change more positively, focussing on reducing air quality and improving health.
Comment: As well as looking at how people travel in Oxford, services (eg shops, pubs, GP surgeries, green spaces, etc) should be brought closer to where people live or work in line with the concept of the Fifteen Minute City.
Comment: Communities in other areas have been delighted when LTNs have been introduced.
Q: We see frequent examples of bad engineering (sloping pavements, puddling near pedestrian crossings, etc) even in recently-completed works. What can be done about this?
A: Get involved at the consultation stage and keep lobbying.
Cllr Constance was thanked for speaking to the meeting as well as for being ‘on side’ with the needs of pedestrians. In response, she thanked OxPA for our hard work and encouraged us to continue taking part in consultations and for lobbying for change.