A new report has claimed there are fewer shop vacancies in Cowley Road than five years ago, despite fears that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) have harmed businesses in the area.

The busy East Oxford street had 12 empty shops or vacancies in 2018, but a new survey has reported there are now just 11.

It means that Cowley Road businesses have performed better than the national average, with the national High Street vacancy rate rising from 11.5 per cent to 13.9 per cent since 2018 (British Retail Consortium figures).

READ MORE: Co-op warns that East Oxford LTNs affect city stores

The findings come against the backdrop of a fierce debate over LTNs in East Oxford, with councillors set to decide whether to make the controversial traffic calming measures permanent at a meeting today (Tuesday, October 17).

Business owners on the road have claimed that the LTNs have reduced footfall and affect how they receive deliveries.

One trader, Clinton Pugh, put up a sign last week on the side of his restaurant, Cafe Coco, which claimed that “Oxford is closing.”

These new figures have been released by a pro-LTN group, the Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT), but the 2018 data is from Oxford City Council and the newer figures are based on two surveys, one using Google Street view images in July and the other done on the ground in September.

CoHSAT claimed that LTNs and better cycle routes have made walking and cycling to businesses on the road easier.