WHILE the allocation of £40m towards improvements in public transport links between Witney and Oxford is welcome, serious questions remain about what we will get for the money.

Speeding up journey times to the edge of Oxford is all very well, but without major changes to links into the city centre and to the areas where major employers are based, there remains a risk that the money would be wasted.

While a guided busway or tidal bus lanes may look like a simple, low-cost solution, the busway in Cambridgeshire, which took over a mothballed railway line, over-ran its budget and opened two years late.

When cities on the Continent the same size as Oxford now have tram systems, it seems short-sighted to apparently rule out rail-based alternatives to the A40 – which offer the potential to reach central Oxford by sharing existing railway lines – without carrying out a proper study of the costs and potential benefits of all the alternatives.

What may look like a good idea now may look very different in a decade’s time, when many of the new homes proposed in the draft Local Plan have become a reality, putting yet more pressure on infrastructure that has failed to keep pace with development for some years now.

Playing catch-up is not good enough. There must be a solution to the district’s transport needs that will meet both current needs and cope with future growth.