INTRODUCING lightweight, battery-powered trams to the streets of Oxford has piqued the interest of business gurus as a means of cleaning up the city.

Trams have been touted as a new means of getting around Oxford since the early millennium, and have been a long held dream of local Green politicians.

In 2017, a group of academics and city planning experts presented a plan for an 'Oxford Metro' to the government as a means of improving public transport in the city.

Talk of the light railways had fallen silent - until this week, when a group of property enthusiasts and dealers discussed the idea in a remote panel event on revitalising Oxford's city centre.

A survey of 44 people listening in on the Oxford Property Forum seminar found that 77 per cent of were in favour of bringing light weight electric trams to the streets of Oxford.

Matthew Battle, the managing director of UK Property Forums said the survey should not be seen as representative of wider views, but added it did demonstrate there was still an appetite for the mode of transport.

Mr Battle added: "We think for places like Oxford and Cambridge it is a really good option and it should be explored."

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Green city councillor Craig Simmons said Oxford needed to 'be bold' and consider the ideas expressed by the property forum.

He added: "These are policies that the Greens have been promoting for some time."


Craig Simmons. Picture: Ed Nix

Mr Simmons added that trams could be part of a solution to getting people out of their cars in Oxford, and could replace large car parks in the city centre, like the one at the Westgate Shopping Centre.

He also said they should be used as public transport in areas which might be difficult for buses to travel to, such as on narrow roads or historic areas like Broad Street.

In some cities like Manchester and Sheffield, trams have become a transport success.

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In Edinburgh, there were some problems with installing a tram network, as laying the railway line through the historic city centre knocked through into basements by accident.

Changes in technology mean that new trams would not require overhead cables or other complex infrastructure, but could run on electric batteries.

In 2017, Dr Nicholas Falk and Reg Harman presented a scheme for an Oxford Metro, including trams, to the UK government.

Oxford historically had horse-drawn trams, which were closed down in 1914.