Transport Strategy – Civic Society Response

The County’s topic-based approach to the transport plan ignores the big picture

20 May 2020

This article summarises Oxford Civic Society’s response to the County Council’s invitation to contribute to a ‘pre-consultation engagement survey’ on Local Transport and Connectivity Plan 5 (LTCP5). The County aims to use the survey results to inform the content of the wider consultation on the proposed Plan later this year. The consultation process and all documents on LTCP5 are on the Council’s website .

The pre-consultation closed on 17 May and a summary of comments received will be published on 7 September. The Society submitted detailed answers to the Council’s Q&A, and a narrative response covering strategic issues. The responses were prepared by Oxford Civic Society’s Transport Group. The Group has a wide mix of experience and skills and is supported by the Society’s Special Adviser on Transport, Peter Headicar (the main author of the narrative report).

Oxford Civic Society welcomes the County Council’s survey on transport and connectivity but regrets the topic approach lacks an overall strategy. In a statement released to the press the Society’s Chairman, Ian Green, said:

“We have been given jigsaw pieces of different shapes and sizes. We don’t know whether all the pieces fit together (or whether any are missing!), what picture is created when assembled and how far this matches the one being aimed for. We need a picture on the box.”

“We congratulate the County on its willingness to offer a platform for opinion and interest before the more formal consultation. The survey was not a small matter – it consisted of 28 topic papers. Although it was not expected that everyone would respond to every topic paper, we did so because we see the updated transport plan (to 2050) as a vital component of national, regional and local planning.”

“We are very concerned that the fragmented, topic-by-topic approach may continue to be applied in developing policies and proposals for the Plan itself. We strongly recommend that the consultation later this year sets out draft Plan objectives. Debate can then focus on the objectives and the options which might contribute to each objective. These options might then be assessed in terms of their relevance to national and regional agendas, potential deliverability, cost-effectiveness and sustainability, for example in the face of the post COVID-19 economic recovery, inequality and the climate change emergency.”