OxPA meeting
Tuesday November 24 2020

General discussion

Attendees: Sushila Dhall (Chair), Keith Frayn, Don O’Neal, Deborah Glass Woodin, Cinderella Lingwood, Peter Headicar, Ruth Davis, Peter Thompson, Chris Cowley (Secretary)

Three items were discussed at the meeting:

  1. Direct Action
  2. Judicial Review
  3. Future Meetings
  4. Aims for 2021

The background to these discussion topics is that, for many years, OxPA have been responding to consultations and expressing the view of pedestrians.  The City and County Councils have policy documents in place which aim to take into account the needs of pedestrians and cyclists.  However, there is frustration that nothing has happened on the ground and the needs of pedestrians continue to be ignored.

  1. Direct Action

The meeting discussed the possibilities of direct action on Hythe Bridge Street or Folly Bridge where pavement space for pedestrians is very limited.  A group of around 30 people demonstrating would need to spill onto one of the carriageways, slowing down the traffic.  The aim of Direct Action would be to raise awareness of the needs of pedestrians and to start a discussion of the issues. 

  • Focussing on the impossibility of social distancing in these areas might be irrelevant in the 2021 as Covid restrictions are likely to be gradually lifted.
  • St Aldates is also a very bad area for pedestrians.
  • Demonstrating with wheelchairs, buggies, small children, disabled people could make the point more clearly. Alternatively, walking with 2-metre sticks to highlight to difficulties of social distancing.
  • Hedges and overhanging vegetation are also major hazards for pedestrians.

An alternative might be to make a video of the pedestrian experience in Oxford City Centre to be circulated on social media, as well as to City and County Councillors and other interested parties.  As well as highlighting the negative aspects of walking in Oxford, the video could also show people enjoying the empty streets in Lockdown.


  1. Judicial Review

The basis of any judicial review would be to challenge the County Council for not fulfilling its own policies on restoring air quality to legal levels and on putting pedestrians and cyclists at the heart of their transport policy.  The proposal for bus gates had been deferred due to the threat of judicial review by city traders and motorists’ organisations even though consultations showed 50% of respondents were in favour of the scheme (with 45% opposed).

  • Legal advice would be needed to clarify the feasibility of this course of action.
  • Pedestrians are at the heart of the new Highway Code. This is a welcome step forward.
  • As well as Council policies, a change in behaviour in Oxford citizens is what will really make a difference.
  • The issue of increased car use is not being addressed.
  • Is there any prospect of transport campaigning groups having an influence of the outcome of the 2021 local elections?
  • What has happened about plans to pedestrianise Broad Street?


  1. Future Meetings


  • January 26th: social event with Cyclox
  • February 23rd: AGM. Cllr Yvonne Constance has agreed to come to speak to us.  It was agreed to prepare a slide show for the event and to ask her how OxPA can support her to bring about change for pedestrians.
  • March 23rd: discussion of Direct Action
  • April 27th: Patrick Lingwood to speak to us about the hurdles involved in getting change implemented.
  • May 25th: Either a speaker from OxAir (a research organisation) or Cllr Suzanne Bartington.


  1. Aims for 2021


  • Get Connecting Oxford and the bus gates proposal back on the agenda.
  • Direct Action / Video
  • Spend the Keith Holly legacy.
  • Ask for an OxPA column in the Oxford Mail or Oxford Times.