It might be an unlikely location for some of Oxford's best-loved artwork, but residents say murals decorating Headington's subway should be preserved if the walkway is closed.

A question mark hangs over the future of the subway, which could be filled in next year as part of a £3m transport development scheme in London Road.

But residents have voiced their concerns about the plans - not least because they claim the subway and its colourful artwork is now a much-valued part of Headington's local landscape.

A petition with 300 signatures against its closure has already been collected.

Oxfordshire County Council transport planners have deferred making a decision on the subway - the most controversial aspect of the scheme - until next year for "more detailed analysis" to take place.

Ben Emlyn-Jones, a hospital porter who uses the subway each day on his way to the John Radcliffe Hospital, said if the subway is filled in he would like to see photographs of the paintings displayed in an art gallery.

Mr Emlyn-Jones, 36, of Littlemore, said: "People are quite upset about this and I think it's understandable for several reasons.

"Not only is the subway the safest way to cross London Road, but it's also an art gallery.

"The pictures in it have been there for several years and they are lovely, they depict scenes that are part of Headington.

"If the subway is going to be demolished, someone needs to make a record of these pictures."

The paintings depict well-known places in the area such as Oxford Brookes University, the JR, footballers on Manor Ground and the church in Old Headington.

Mr Emlyn-Jones added: "I don't want to play down the practical inconveniences of losing the subway, but if it is doomed then it would be a great shame if the pictures were to go."

Maureen Christian, councillor for Headington Hill and Northway, said: "There is already a great shortage of public art in Oxford, especially in comparison to other cities. The murals are popular and it's no surprise that local people have grown fond of them.

"People in the area understandably want to see the subway remain open. London Road is an extraordinarily busy road and crossing it can be dangerous, particularly for the elderly or mothers with pushchairs."

Ruth Wilkinson, ward councillor for Headington, said: "Headington people are quite proud of the way the subway is decorated, they've come to love it. It's part of the local landscape now."