A popular Christmas market may not go ahead this year because the county council has “prioritised their net-zero ambitions”, the organiser of the festive event claims.
Oxford’s longest running market could be forced to close this Christmas after council chiefs said they are adamant that a cycle lane must remain open.
Nicole Rahimi, who has organised the event for the past 14 years, said Oxfordshire County Council had made it “impossible” for her to accept the conditions to run it again.
Fears have been raised by Rahimi over a high speed collision that could take place between cyclists and pedestrians as thousands of visitors will be unaware of the major cycle lane through the city.
The market usually opens during the first week of December where traders sell food, drinks and Christmas decorations.
“They are prioritising cycling and their net-zero ambitions over the 60 businesses which come each year,” Rahimi told the Oxford Mail.
“I cannot accept the county council’s conditions so it will not go ahead at the moment.”
Last year, Rahimi – who is a cyclist herself – said the county council agreed to put in place a diversion route which encouraged cyclists to avoid the major cycle lane on Broad Street, Oxford.
She added that she believes most cyclists would be happy for the lane to be closed for three weeks.
“I’m looking out for the safety of both cyclists and pedestrians,” she said.
“I understand that closing the cycle lane can be a nuisance, but we have to think about the businesses which will lose out.”
The organiser said that if the council agreed to a road closure then cyclists would still be able to pass through before 10am and it would not be in place for 24 hours.
Rahimi also explained that more space needs to be allocated to the market as she said it will be a “struggle” to fit all the stores within the two spaces allocated on Broad Street.
She said the city council had been “very supportive” of the market going ahead but the county council had “sided with the cyclists”.