CORNMARKET in Oxford should be reopened to some buses, two operators say.
Stagecoach Oxfordshire and Oxford Bus Company have suggested transport officials consider reopening Cornmarket to buses because of the Westgate centre redevelopment.
The long-awaited upgrade brings with it the prospect of a fully-pedestrianised Queen Street, seen by developer Westgate Oxford Alliance as a key element of the scheme.
That would see a number of bus stops relocated to Castle Street, prompting concerns buses will clog the road and suffer delays.
Sara Fuge, development manager for Westgate Oxford Alliance, which is behind the Westgate scheme, said: “Redirecting buses away from Queen Street will help to create a more pedestrian-friendly and safer environment for a key shopping street at the heart of the city.”
But Oxford Pedestrians Association chairwoman Sushila Dhall said the current arrangement allowing some buses down the busy steet outside the Westgate Shopping Centre did not need to be changed.
Ms Dhall told the Oxford Mail: “We would be very upset if the gains made over the years by pedestrianising Cornmarket were reversed. It is the only completely pedestrianised street in the city centre.
“But we are happy with what has been done to Queen Street already. We think that with some buses on it a balance has been struck that works for everybody.
“We see the difficulties bus companies are facing and were disappointed that the proposals for Westgate did not include more routes for buses through the development.”
The county council is working on a draft transport plan for the city centre and has been discussing proposals with bus companies, as well as Westgate Oxford Alliance.
This week Stagecoach Oxfordshire managing director Martin Sutton called for some buses to be allowed down Cornmarket.
He said: “If we are serious about attractive cross-city transport links we should consider a limited number of buses running between the north and south via Cornmarket and St Aldates and east and west via High Street and Queen Street.”
Phil Southall, operations director for Oxford Bus Company, urged “radical thinking” to strike a balance between direct bus links and pedestrian areas.
Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said the authority was not considering the measure but would “listen to all suggestions that could help improve the city centre and access to it”.
Cornmarket was pedestrianised in 1999 as part of a major shake-up of Oxford’s traffic system that also saw High Street closed to traffic.
The £2.7m scheme saw an asphalt surface with York stone pavements installed.
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
8:30am Thursday 26th November 2015
WORK to electrify the railway into Oxford has been set back four years, throwing the redevelopment of the city’s station into doubt.
5:52pm Thursday 26th November 2015
A MAN wanted by police on recall to prison was last seen in Banbury and has links to Oxford.
9:00am Thursday 26th November 2015
MORE than half of Oxfordshire’s senior consultants have pledged their support to junior doctors taking industrial action over a row with the Government.
8:00am Thursday 26th November 2015
UP TO 50 jobs at a new Aldi supermarket in Oxford will be advertised to local people.
8:00am Thursday 26th November 2015
AS THE county prepares for the hustle and bustle of Black Friday tomorrow, one Oxford bookshop is encouraging customers to make the most of the quiet life.
8:30am Wednesday 25th November 2015
TRADE in Oxford is dwindling with businesses blaming the fall in shoppers on roadworks and high parking charges.