PEDESTRIANS have more room to socially distance in Bicester Market Square after the council blocked off parts of the town centre’s roads to widen the footpaths.

As non-essential shops reopen, Cherwell District Council’s street scene team has been busy preparing the town centre for greater footfall.

ALSO READ: First day of reopening for Oxford's shops

Parking on roadsides has been suspended in order to make for space for people to walk thanks to a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) from the county council - the first Covid-19-related TTRO granted in the county.

Councillor Dan Sames, Cherwell’s lead member for clean and green, said: “After months in lockdown, it is good to see that more shops and businesses are able to once again open their doors.

Oxford Mail:

“In the months ahead getting the economy back on track is vital but it is also important that people visiting Bicester town centre are able to look out for one another and socially distance.

“To aid this, we as local authorities are working together to identify improvements to the street scene that will encourage active travel and minimise the risk of coronavirus infection.

ALSO READ: One way pavements part of shop reopening plan for Oxfordshire

“I am pleased that Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire County Council have been able to team up in this way and I am sure it will help to give people the assurance they need to support local businesses.”

Social distancing signs have also been installed by Cherwell’s street scene team, and the council’s community safety officers have also been offering guidance and support to shoppers.

Elsewhere in town, the Healthy Bicester team has installed social distancing signage on the blue line health routes and the Claremont public toilets have reopened, following refurbishment to install a changing places facility.

Oxford city centre and town centres throughout the county have put in place measures such as one-way pavements that officials hope will help people feel comfortable venturing back out to shop.

ALSO READ: Bicester residents take to town as lockdown eases

County councillor Liam Walker, cabinet member for highway operation and delivery, said: “It is fantastic to see the results of work we have been involved in with local councils and communities start to bear fruit.

Oxford Mail:

“People have seen social distancing in operation for a long time now in essential shops and when they are exercising.

“That period will put places like Bicester in a good position as more businesses start to open with the support of new social distancing infrastructure.”

Shoppers took to Bicester town centre last week when non-essential shops reopened and residents say they have had ‘pleasant’ experiences.