Published: Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Oxford City Council will improve walking and cycling routes in the city with the development of the Oxpens River Bridge.  

The new pedestrian and cycle bridge will link Osney Mead to Oxpens and on to the city centre.  

It will serve as a vital link for local people, especially those based in new employment areas, offering quick and safe walking and cycling routes, helping to reduce congestion in and around Oxford city centre. 

Oxpens River Bridge is a requirement of the Oxford Local Plan to support wider regeneration of the West End of the city. 

Funding for the project comes from the Oxfordshire Growth Deal, and a requirement is that all bridge construction work must be completed by 31 March 2025. To make sure this happens, the Council needs to begin construction in summer, after planning permission for the bridge is granted.  

Selected trees need to be pollarded or in some cases removed, to allow the building work. The tree work will be done in the next few weeks, ahead of bird-nesting season, which runs from March to August, to ensure birds find alternative nesting sites.  

Planning permission is not required for this work and none of the trees involved have Tree Preservation Orders. The Council’s Tree Officer and Ecologist have assessed the affected trees and developed a scheme to replace them all as well as plant additional trees to maintain the area's level of tree canopy and biodiversity, once construction of the bridge is complete.

If planning permission is delayed or denied, the Council is still committed to replacing the trees removed and ensuring that the project will lead to an increase in city tree coverage. 

In 2019, Oxford City Council declared a climate emergency, and in September 2022 reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the ecological emergency. The Council has planted over 10,000 new trees in its green spaces in recent years. In the current tree planting season, the Council has planted over 70 trees around the city.  


“I am really pleased that plans for the Oxpens River Bridge are progressing. The new bridge will be a fantastic addition to the area, supporting ambitious regeneration projects nearby. It will become a key off-road route for people walking and cycling in and out of the city centre to the west and south. It will be a great way to access the tow path along the river Thames, and as it should encourage more people to walk or to get out their cycles, it will help reduce congestion on the roads. 

“I understand people may have concerns about the removal of trees. I can assure everyone that this has been reduced to the minimum number necessary and our plans commit to replacing the removed trees and enhancing biodiversity by the completion of the project.” 

 Councillor Ed Turner, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Asset Management 

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