Bus companies and council clash over Frideswide Square safety fears

Despite concerns over the size of bus bays at the £5.8m Frideswide Square redevelopment, Oxfordshire County Council is not taking any immediate action.

Bus companies claim that the bays are too short and narrow for buses to safely pull into. However, the Council is not proposing any changes to the bays at this time, and will instead implement a “safety audit”, which they say will show if any adjustments are needed. During the first few months of their operation the bays will be monitored and a review will take place to determine what changes need to be made.

A meeting has been called between the affected bus companies and the council in order to resolve the issue. Phil Southall, Managing Director of Oxford Bus Company said: “Along with our colleagues at Stagecoach we’ve been working with the council to ensure that the stops in the new look Frideswide Square are fit for purpose. We’ve identified a number of changes that need to be made and we will continue to help the council implement these.” Stagecoach Oxford could not be reached for comment.

Works at the site, near the train station, began at the end of February and are due to be completed in December. Alex Hollingsworth, city councillor for Carfax, told The Oxford Student: “The roadworks at Frideswide Square have been causing disruption for local businesses, road-users, commuters and residents for months, and it is very unfortunate that this dispute between the bus companies and the County Council has arisen at such a late stage. The County Council and the bus companies need to agree urgently whether or not there is a problem, and if there is, resolve it without causing even more disruption.”

However, a spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council told Oxford Mail: “Work on the square is not yet complete and we are confident that we can address the concerns by working together with the bus companies.”

The scheme has caused some issues for local businesses. A shop assistant at Uni Food and Wines told The Oxford Student: ‘The bus bays have taken the place of our loading bays. We now have to unload goods on the next street. It’s very inconvenient.’

However, Amanda Suliman-Bell, owner of Rainbow and Spoon clothes store, told Oxford Mail: “I am very hopeful this scheme will work – we just have to get through the roadworks.

“The images look promising.”