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  • Writer's pictureGordon Elliot

The End of the 15-Minute City Plan

Oxford City Council has dropped the phrase "15-minute city" from its plans.

The idea had been that Oxford should be a city where everybody lived within 15 minutes of services such as shops, schools and their GP surgery. However it became caught up in the row about the plan to create traffic filters which would to some extent limit the ability of residents to drive from one part of the city to another without making a detour via the ring road, and also the establishment of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) by blocking certain roads to cars. This set off a toxic campaign by conspiracy theorists as far away as Australia who alleged that the council was trying to create a "climate lockdown". It was even suggested at one stage that armed guards would be posted at the filter points to stop drivers from passing through.

The council has now decided that the phrase has become too incendiary and has dropped it from its local plan. However they still hope to encourage greener transport and to ease traffic congestion. They have pointed out that the idea of the 15-minute city was to be part of the local plan it was developing. It was the county council, which is responsible for traffic and transport issues, which came up with the filter scheme and the LTNs, but protestors had wrongly conflated these policies.

Friends who live in Oxford say the congestion in Oxford is very bad. We stopped driving into Oxford years ago but a crawl by bus from the centre to the Pear Tree Park and Ride a little time ago seemed to confirm this. However there seem to be many drivers who disagree.


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