Proposed update to Oxford City Council parks and open spaces byelaws

Closed 8 Apr 2024

Opened 12 Feb 2024

Feedback updated 6 Jun 2024

We asked

For your feedback on our proposal to update the City Council byelaws for Parks and Open Spaces, which have not been updated for nearly 30 years. We launched a widely publicised, open-to-all online questionnaire and reached out proactively to a wide range of stakeholders connected to our green spaces.

We received a total of 523 responses to the online survey, along with additional comments and suggestions via email and letter. We reviewed all responses to gauge support or opposition to the proposals, and to identify general themes, concerns, and suggestions.

You said

  • Strong Support for Updates: A majority (60%) of respondents supported the proposed updated byelaws overall.
  • Backing for Individual Byelaws: Most individual byelaws proposed received significant majority support.
  • Cycling Considerations: A majority supported lifting the blanket ban on cycling in parks. However, there was strong sentiment to retain the ban in Hinksey Park (except on designated routes), and in the Trap Grounds and Lye Valley nature areas to protect fragile habitats.
  • Play Area Usage: While there was general support for addressing misuse of play areas by teenagers, many respondents questioned enforcing an age limit. It was suggested to handle misuse through a general byelaw on causing obstruction or annoyance.
  • Impact Awareness: Most respondents did not feel the updated byelaws would unduly impact them, except in the case of cycling in parks, reflecting mixed views on the potential impacts on both cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Old Byelaws: There was significant support for revoking outdated byelaws on ball games, tree climbing, and wild swimming.
  • Shotover Country Park: A majority supported including Shotover Country Park under the general park byelaws, revoking its existing set.

We did

Based on your feedback, the draft updated byelaws will be revised to address your concerns and suggestions.

The Council will now take the time to carefully consider all proposals and recommendations. If we decide to move forward, the updated proposals will be advertised again for further public comment later this year.

Byelaws provide essential rules to ensure everyone can enjoy, feel safe in, and respect our public spaces. They also protect habitats, wildlife, and the wider environment.

“We are grateful to everyone who took the time to share their views during this consultation. Your feedback is invaluable in helping us shape byelaws that protect our cherished parks and open spaces while ensuring they remain safe and enjoyable for all. We are committed to carefully considering all comments and will continue to engage with the community as we refine these proposals.” Councillor Chewe Munkonge, Cabinet Member for a Healthy Oxford 

You can read more about the proposals here


Oxford City Council has a set of byelaws in place for its parks, nature areas and play facilities. These provide a set of rules around the use of these public spaces to ensure people behave in way which respects the enjoyment, wellbeing, and safety of others. Byelaws are also aimed to ensure the protection of habitats, wildlife, and the wider environment.   

Oxford City Council has not updated its parks and open spaces byelaws for over 25 years, and is now considering to:   

  1. Revoke old byelaws no longer relevant/appropriate. 

  1. Make new byelaws to deal with new challenges and changing priorities 

  1. Update the list of sites currently covered to address previous omissions and naming errors to ensure consistency, to include new play spaces created since the byelaws were last updated and to remove other sites which have been or are planned to be subject to change of land use.  

  1. For simplification and consistency, apply to revoke (remove) the separate set of byelaws for Shotover County Park and include the site under the main park byelaws.  

We have created a set of draft updated byelaws, based on the Home Office model of current best practice, and informed by experience of the current challenges, and on-going park user feedback.  

Share your views on these proposed draft byelaws amendments to ensure they reflect the needs and wishes of the diverse users and visitors of these public green spaces and play facilities.  

Interactive byelaw map

Clicking on this map will open a separate tab showing the areas relating to some of the byelaws

Clicking on the map will open the interactive map on a new tab. 


  • Anyone from any background


  • Byelaws
  • Restrictions
  • Residents' Survey
  • Pulse Survey
  • Parks and Green Spaces