OCS celebrates 50 years
Launched on 27 November 1969, we are celebrating 50 years as ‘an independent voice for Oxford’.
27 November 2019
Launched on 27 November 1969, Oxford Civic Society is celebrating 50 years as ‘an independent voice for Oxford’.
The Society was set up to fight the City Council’s plans to drive 8 miles of urban motorway through the city in an attempt to combat traffic congestion. From the outset, the Society had a different vision of how to manage traffic in towns. It argued that traffic should be stopped at the city boundaries and commuters should complete their journey by bus. The Society won the day: the motorway was never built and Oxford became the first city in the UK to offer an enduring Park and Ride scheme.
Our Chairman Ian Green says: “Transport is still one of the Society’s priorities today. We would like to see a future where fewer people need their cars, more people travel using public transport or bike and where walking is an accepted way of life. Climate change means we need to get tough with transport choices.”
To mark its anniversary the Society has:
- commissioned a history of its achievements in the context of a changing city, published online with the title “Changing Oxford“, with a summary “All Our Futures” in print (not available online, but copies can be ordered here);
- run three highly popular public debates in the Town Hall – on Green Belt policies, on the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway and on curbing pollution;
- sponsored a Blue Plaque to mark the first Park and Ride scheme, at Redbridge in south Oxford;
- issued a special edition of its newsletter, Visions, on the climate emergency and what a Civic Society can do;
- run an extensive and varied programme of walks, talks and visits for members, highlighting the treasures of the City and also the challenges it faces.
“It has also been ‘business as usual’ for the Society” says Ian Green. “In response to Oxford’s pressures for growth, we have increased our capacity to contribute to strategic development planning in the city region. We are contributing to the planning of strategic development sites in the City, to the preparation of the county-wide Oxfordshire 2050 Plan and to the review of the role and functions of the Oxfordshire Growth Board”.