NEW roads planned for south Oxfordshire will make it easier for people to move around the countryside without their cars, the county council has claimed.

The planned new bridge across the Thames at Culham will provide the first 'convenient and attractive' way of crossing the river for those on foot or bike, according to the authority.

It comes after residents at the first consultation event on its roads plan raised fears that building more roads would only lead to more cars, and funds should be put into boosting other modes of transport instead.

Malcom Hurdus, who lives in Radley, said: "If you look at it, one of the proposed routes goes directly parallel to the railway line. To me, that's bizarre.

"This is a line that is still waiting for electrification, where we have seen cancelled services and regular delays.

"If Government money should be spent on anything, it is this.

"It seems extraordinary that you would put all this effort into creating new roads.

"We have seen more and more roads built around us and we still have traffic.

"It is quite depressing when you could improve rail and cycle links instead."

Electrification of the railway between Didcot and Oxford has been indefinitely deferred by the Government.

New electric trains can not get beyond Didcot, leaving passengers at Culham and Radley needing to change, if they want to travel to London.

The new bridge will provide a direct link from new houses planned for northern Didcot to the Culham Science Centre.

If Government funding is awarded it would join other projects, including the new Harwell bypass, that aim to get residents to the big employment areas quicker.

The road could also relieve pressure on the A34 as it provides another possible route for people travelling between Didcot and Oxford.

The council is working towards setting a preferred route but has stressed that people can still influence this in its consultation, which runs online until November 25.

County council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: "By providing improved transport infrastructure, including for pedestrians and cyclists, we hope to encourage more people to use sustainable transport more often.

“A new river crossing will provide new opportunities and travel options for all modes, including walking, cycling and potential new routes for buses, particularly for those that are travelling between Didcot and Culham Science Centre.

"The current situation is not convenient for any mode but one that only encourages the private car – something that we are actively working to address."