'LONG overdue' measures to ban Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) from Burford could be on the horizon.

An 18-month experimental weight limit order for the town centre was approved at Oxfordshire County Council on Thursday, answering calls from residents dating back to 1982.

Burford Town Council has to raise £130,000 to fund the measures before they are implemented, but mayor, John White, said passing the plans was a huge step alone.

He added: "Burford has been waiting for this for decades. The feeling around the town is that it's long overdue.

"Most people had given up hope we would get there."

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The order covers the length of Burford High Street, between the A40 roundabout to the south and the A361/A424 junction north of Burford Bridge.

Mr White explained the measures were needed due to the 'vibratory damage' to listed buildings of HGVs using the high street, 'economic damage' to businesses, and air pollution levels in the town centre.

The order begins when the town council confirms it has the required funding, with money sought through a public appeal and contributions from councils in areas that will benefit.

County council officers are set to undertake three rounds of monitoring, which will take place before, during and after the 18-month period.

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In addition to the High Street, officers will assess the impact on Chipping Norton town centre, the Bladon roundabout, Witney town centre, the B4022 between Witney and Charlbury and the A436 between Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Norton.

The results will be compared to traffic surveys from this April.

Yvonne Constance, the county council's cabinet member for environment, approved the weight limit order and revealed she was looking forward to seeing the results.

She said: “I am pleased that we have reached the point where we can introduce experimental measures and see the effect they have on Burford and the wider area.

“Many local people have been calling for a weight limit for a long time and the county council has also heard from people outside of Burford who had concerns about how the arrangements could affect them.

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“It has been a long process to get to this stage but we will now be able to see how a weight limit works in practice over an 18 month period of time.”

Residents and councillors in nearby towns and villages have raised concerns that the limit would increase the number of HGVs on their roads, but Mr White is confident the vehicles will stick to A-roads.

He said: "They're right to think about it, we don't want drivers to go through vulnerable villages and hamlets.

"But we don't believe their concerns are justified, based on our research and the figures."