RESIDENTS and businesses have shared their fears over a major scheme that would change the face of Jericho.

More than 60 donors raised £3,815 for a new Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) to be professionally reviewed, starting next week.

But a survey of 40 business owners by the Jericho Traders Association (JTA) claims 31 are against the part-pedestrianisation of Walton Street, which is a key feature of the plans.

Read also: Plan to part-pedestrianise Walton Street moves forward

The road has not reopened since it shut for repairs last summer, with Oxfordshire County Council planning to keep it closed until a LTN has been 'designed, consulted on and funded'.

A JTA spokesperson said: "We very much believe that it is possible to create a traffic proposal for Jericho which does not involve pedestrianisation but is affordable, popular and solves the problem of deterring drivers whose destination is somewhere other than Jericho.

"We feel that we have lived with this 'in limbo' situation for far too long and are keen to attempt to progress our businesses from a more stable foundation.

"We also feel that new businesses will be deterred from investing in Jericho while this situation exists."

Oxford Mail:

One of the businesses surveyed added: “Why don’t they make Cornmarket the street with all the café culture – there are enough empty shops down there.

“We just don’t have enough footfall in Jericho.”

Walton Street would be pedestrianised between Juxon Street and Jericho Health Centre under the current plans.

One of four 'modal filters' to block vehicles would be next to the health centre, with the others at The Rickety Press pub in Cranham Terrace, the junction of Allam Street and Juxon Street and in Little Clarendon Street.

Oxford Mail:

The LTN would be bordered by Beaumont Street to the south, Woodstock Road to the east, the Oxford Canal to the west and Polstead Road to the north.

Pedestrianisation would enable bars, cafes and restaurants to implement outdoor seating.

But Kajsa Wilhelmsson, who lives in Walton Street with her partner and two teenage children, has spoken to neighbours and fears it would damage their quality of life.

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She said: “I don’t want a restaurant table outside of my son’s bedroom window.

“The street isn’t just for businesses and restaurants – there are several family houses that will be impacted.

“The people who live here are generally elderly and aren’t keen on noise.

“One couple didn’t know anything about it, as very few of them are online and that’s where this is being shared.”

John Mair, who lives on nearby Nelson Street, added: “They have an interesting plan, but it’s utopian and won’t work.

“It’s going to displace traffic into the backstreets of Jericho.”

Six business surveyed by the JTA supported the scheme, while another half a dozen offered rewards to donors on the crowdfunding page.

Read also: Uncertainty over future of Cowley Low Traffic Neighbourhood

Among those was Estia wellspace director and Cranham Terrace resident Sophie MacLaren, who was surprised by the force of opposition.

She said: "To me it feels like more fear than facts.

"I'm fine with having a few more cars on my street if it's to the benefit of the community.

"I've lived in areas where shopping streets have become pedestrianised and every time they've been made the heart of the city.

"Walton Street just isn't big enough for cars, bikes and pedestrians.

"The pavements are so narrow you're constantly having to go into the road to get around cars."

The plans have been developed by the Jericho Low Traffic Neighbourhood group and its chair, Jamie Hartzell, revealed he knew of only eight traders that opposed the scheme.

He said: "It doesn't accord with our experience of speaking to businesses.

"People can see pros and cons and it all needs further examination and discussion.

"Most traders want to be involved in that so it works for them.

"The council has committed to this, so we need to engage with it and make sure it's the best scheme possible."