Campaigners who say the closure of Walton Street to traffic is seriously damaging trade are planning a protest at the barriers.

Last year county council highways bosses closed the street at its junction with Beaumont Street and Worcester Street.

Although the local authority is continuing to consult on the issue the closure has proved incredibly divisive.

One group of residents called Don’t Choke Jericho! has called for the street to stay closed.

Its demonstration took place at Christmas and now it is the turn of Jericho Connections, whose members want the street reopened.

Oxford Mail:

One of the main reasons for its demand is that traders have reported a downturn in trade since the closure.

As a result, traders and other residents will be staging a demonstration at the barrier on Sunday.

Oxford Mail:

Speaking on behalf of Jericho Connections, Pip McAllister said: “The closure of Walton Street to through traffic is destroying Jericho - our elderly and disabled are facing increased isolation, our businesses are experiencing a significant downturn in trade and the majority of our community are angry that OCC has run roughshod over both our views and needs.

“On Sunday we are staging a Day of Action starting at 11 am at the barricade on Walton Street.

Oxford Mail:

“Members of our 170-strong group will be there to make their feelings known and to provide information about how the closure is impacting on our community before leafleting the length of Walton Street.”

In recent weeks Jericho Connections has conducted a survey of businesses and says it has shown the closure is having a negative impact on trade.

The group added: “The majority (84 per cent) of businesses strongly disagreed with the closure of Walton Street to through traffic, with 89 per cent of respondents stating that their business had been negatively impacted by the closure and ranking the impact as moderate to considerable."

Eighty-two per cent of businesses reported a drop-off in trade, with operational difficulties also rating highly (55 per cent).

Oxford Mail:

Jericho Connections added that 85 per cent of Walton Street’s 19-plus hospitality outlets reported a negative impact on trade, together with other small businesses in the area.

Earlier this month the county council wasted £228 when it was forced to scrap a leaflet on the closure containing incorrect information, before printing another one.

The incorrect leaflet said a decision on whether to make the closure permanent would be made before May 2020 when the date should have said before May 2021.

A spokesman for Branca restaurant said: "The Walton Street closure is a blatant act of commercial vandalism.

"Whilst currently seeing a reduction in both planned and spontaneous visits as a direct result of the road closure, we will lose visibility and relevance over the longer term.”

Oxford Mail:

Ms McAllister said the Walton Street closure was ‘a test case for the wider Zero Emission Zone proposals’ in Oxford.

She added: “We are concerned that if the authorities show the same lack of consultation and planning when implementing the bigger picture, Oxford as a whole will suffer.”

Jamie Hartzell, of Don’t Choke Jericho! was unavailable for comment.