REMOVING car parking spaces from Broad Street could transform the area and draw more Westgate visitors into this part of the city centre, according to campaigners.

Momentum appears to be building again behind plans to pedestrianise part of the historic street after the county council's cycling champion said the 'time was right' to revisit the idea.

Oxfordshire County Councillor Suzanne Bartington said on Twitter: "I can't help thinking that Broad Street, Oxford, would be so much more beautiful and peaceful if the parking spaces were removed and replaced with bike racks."

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Parking bays currently dominate the middle of road while it is also used for loading and by tourist buses.

The idea was last considered when the Weston Library opened in 2015, attracting 30,000 visitors in its first week.

Then Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said at the time that pedestrianisation could create 'a really beautiful space' for people to use on foot without the volume of traffic that is currently generated by car parking spaces.

Various bodies including the Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT) have long backed the idea and plans were drawn up in 2004 including paving over the eastern end of the road to create a 'university square.'

Oxford University has previously said it would be prepared to discuss the idea while the county council, the highways authority, has also expressed support but its leader Ian Hudspeth has previously said that re-routing traffic would be 'a challenge.'

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Some of the shops that line the street have also objected to removing the parking spaces when it has come up in the past.

Dr Bartington suggested it could be tested with initiatives including temporary traffic regulation orders or the occasional 'car free day'.

Her ideas have met with support from other city and county councillors.

Removing the cars could create a space akin to Rome's Piazza Navona or Prague's Old Town Square, according to those who back the plan, and could be complemented with benches and outdoor activities including table tennis.

Debbie Dance, director of Oxford Preservation Trust, wrote in support of the plan in her column last month.