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Column 9th September 2020

Do we want more pedestrianisation in Wantage?

Back at the beginning of July, the Government tasked Local Authorities to implement temporary measures to reopen their Town Centres and High Streets as safely as possible, and to make them more attractive and welcoming for pedestrians and cyclists.

As you may have seen Wantage Town Council has temporarily pedestrianisedi7kn the area to the west of the Market Place, (nearest the Church) with the long term aim to make this permanent.

Many people believe that a pedestrianised area of the square is a really good idea, but are a little unsure how this closure makes the town better for pedestrians.

It allows the businesses in this part of the square to have tables outside but it doesn’t widen that pavement for pedestrians because the tables and customers of the eating and drinking establishments get in the way.

Since this part of the market place was closed, more bicycle stands have been installed around the Market Place making it easier for cyclists to park their cycles safely - but taking pedestrian space away, making it harder for people to walk through the town and socially isolate.

As reported elsewhere in this paper the plans for the next stage of pedestrianisation are available for comment.

The plans extend the pedestrian area past the Bear Hotel to cover the road to the crossing by the King Alfred Statue to the east and past the opticians to the north.

There is currently only Costa along this stretch that might benefit from the road closure so this should mean that most of the space is available for pedestrians.

The Wednesday and Saturday markets will move from the centre of the Market Place to the road on the south side, retaining the western car park on these days as well.

The north end of Newbury Street would also be pedestrianised with no road access through into the Market Place and no on-street parking except two disabled bays (see the plan on the Council website).

Domino Pizza Delivery drivers could have a problem as it would be impossible to park in Newbury Street at all without blocking access to the houses on Post Office Lane.

Some people think removing cars from half of the market place is a great idea, others believe that reducing parking will kill the Town.

Please complete the survey on the Town Council Website (wantagetowncouncil.gov.uk) and or/write to the Town Clerk at wantageclerk@gmail.com and give your views.


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