witney high street-2

Council to consider keeping traffic restrictions on Witney High Street following positive feedback from local residents

The Council's Cabinet will be meeting next week to consider keeping traffic restrictions in place on Witney High Street after 64% of respondents to a local survey said the restrictions should stay in place.

Councillor Suzi Coul, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “Residents have been really clear with us in their response to our survey that they feel the limit to traffic in the High Street benefits the town and they would like to see it kept. 

“Many town centres across the UK have seen great success as a result of a better environment for pedestrians and we only have to look down the road to Oxford to see the benefit it can have for visitors and shoppers. 

“This would still be a temporary arrangement and we would look to work with the county council, local businesses and residents over the coming months to develop a much more comprehensive strategy for improving Witney Town Centre and a more permanent solution to improving pedestrian space in the High Street. 

“We do recognise some of the concerns highlighted in the survey, particularly those raised by businesses, and we would want to work closely with them and others to consider those  views as we look at a longer term solution.

“As a result of the feedback we have received, we are also proposing that we make some improvements to the current set up by removing the guard rails and using more attractive planters instead.”

The Council ran a survey in August to ask local residents for their views on the High Street with over 1,300 people responding. 

Over 64% of respondents to the survey, which was widely publicised, felt the extra pedestrian space should be retained with only 36% saying it should return to the pre-pandemic state.

The feedback was largely positive on the traffic restrictions with over 60% saying they felt safer as a result and 54% who thought they had a positive impact on the town. 

Oxfordshire County Council are the highways authority responsible for implementing any permanent changes to highways, such as pedestrianising areas, and the District Council will be working with the County Council on any proposals for permanent changes in future.

The current traffic restrictions were put in place during the pandemic to help people socially distance when visiting the high street, making it safer for local residents to continue to use local businesses. 

The restrictions were retained as lockdown eased to continue to make it easier for people to socially distance and help reduce Covid-19 levels. It also gave time to ask residents what they would like to do with the restrictions.

Contact Information

West Oxfordshire District Council Communications Team

communications@westoxon.gov.uk

Notes to editors

  • The cabinet meeting to make the decision on the future of the high street will take place on Wednesday 13 October 
  • Papers for the meeting are available here including survey results