Graphic of cyclist, pedestrian, bus and traffic light.

Cowley low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs)

What are low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs)?

An LTN is an area where motorised traffic is prevented from taking shortcuts through a residential area. This creates quieter and safer streets where residents may feel more comfortable when making local journeys by cycling, wheeling or on foot.

All roads remain accessible, but drivers may have to find alternative routes instead of cutting through some streets.

LTN locations in Cowley

Cowley LTNs are in Temple Cowley, Church Cowley, and Florence Park areas. You can see the details in the following plans:

Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR)

At three locations, ANPR cameras have replaced physical bollards. 
LTN filter points on the following roads will be enforced with ANPR cameras:

Private motor vehicles are not permitted to drive through these points and will receive a penalty charge notice if they do. 

ANPR exemptions

Exemptions apply for a small number of specific vehicles – allowing them to drive through these ANPR points without being fined:

  • emergency service vehicles
  • taxis and private hire vehicles
  • public waste vehicles
  • universal service provider (postal service) vehicles

Taxis and private hire vehicles are part of the public transport network in Oxfordshire. As stated in the Local Transport and Connectivity Plan.  We will work with taxi and hire companies to ensure they understand their responsibilities. This will help neighbourhoods benefit from quieter and safer streets.

Scheme background - consultation

In November 2020, we sent out letters to over 4,000 residents in the Cowley area inviting them to fill in an online survey asking their opinion of the proposals for low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in three areas including Temple Cowley, Church Cowley, and Florence Park.

The consultation closed on 18 December 2020 with over 1,000 residents responding to the survey. Residents in all three areas expressed majority support for their local LTN proposal. On 21 January 2021 implementation of the proposals were approved by the Cabinet member for the environment.

Scheme background - implementation

The LTNs were implemented via a legal process called an experimental traffic regulation order (ETRO). ETROs are used when it is difficult to assess the impacts of a scheme beforehand, but the cost of implementation is relatively low.

In an ETRO, the council introduces the scheme as an experiment first and there is then a six-month period when the public can see for themselves the impact of the scheme in their neighbourhood and the council can monitor factors such as traffic flows, air quality, changes in people’s perception, and shifts in their mode of travel.

At the end of the six-month period, the council assesses the impacts, including any letters of support or objections, and decides whether to confirm, cancel or extend the ETRO for up to 12 months longer to allow further consultation and monitoring.

Proposals for the ETRO in Cowley were approved by the county council’s cabinet on 21 January 2021. See the meeting papers and minutes here.

Implementation of the LTN measures in Cowley began in February 2021. Church Cowley LTN went live on 1 March 2021, followed by Florence Park on 8 March 2021 and Temple Cowley on 15 March 2021. Further works and were completed on 21 May 2021. 

The ETRO consultation closed on 19 November 2021 and the outcome of that, and the monitoring exercise was reported to Full Cabinet for a decision on 19 July 2022. At the cabinet meeting, the decision was made that the Cowley LTNs would remain in place.

Cabinet also committed to undertake additional community and stakeholder engagement to further refine the scheme, with any changes to be implemented by spring 2023. The council will also continue to monitor all aspects of the measures and bring forward proposals for changes through the consultation process, including the potential to replace some hard closures with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.

ANPR consultation

 A decision was made on 22 June 2023 to approve proposals to remove LTN bollards on three roads in Cowley and enforce the traffic restrictions using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras instead. The decision followed a review with emergency services, internal reviews, and site visits, as well as a consultation between 6 March and 17 April 2023. The consultation was concerned only with the ANPR proposal and had no influence on the presence or location of the actual LTNs.

It was proposed to install ANPR cameras at LTN closure points on Littlemore Road, Crescent Road and Littlehay Road. Consideration was given to the impact on the scheme objectives of the LTNs including the aim to reduce through traffic.

The potential to replace some hard closures (bollards) with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, is a part of the commitments made alongside the Cabinet decision for the Cowley LTNs to remain in place.

More about the ANPR consultation: