Traffic restrictions in Witney town centre made permanent

Most motor vehicles have been prohibited from High Street and Market Place in Witney, in a bid to make the area safer and more pleasant for all users of the town centre.

It follows a consultation by Oxfordshire County Council into whether to make temporary traffic restrictions permanent. The measures were brought in as part of COVID-19 regulations to encourage social distancing and were due to expire on 3 January 2022.

Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “These measures are in line with our aims to create a transport network that makes active travel – walking and cycling – the first choice for short journeys, encourage public transport, and reduce reliance on car journeys.

“There are a large number of free car parking spaces behind High Street so this measure should not impact significantly on businesses in the area. Indeed, there is growing evidence to suggest that cycle and pedestrian-friendly streets can boost footfall and retail sales, helping to revive traditional high streets and town centres by creating more pleasant conditions.

“Both Cornmarket Street in Oxford and Sheep Street in Bicester used to be full of vehicles, and I doubt anyone would suggest a return to that situation now that they are both pedestrianised. I’m sure that these changes in Witney will be just as popular, although we will monitor the situation to see if any amendments are required in the future.”

Exemptions to the ban will apply to buses, taxis, vehicles loading or unloading, and those displaying a valid blue badge.

The measures will also involve the conversion of the existing 30 minute short-stay parking bays along the western side of Market Square to three hour disabled persons parking places.

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