CUSTOMERS could soon be able to sit outdoors at more city eateries in a bid to boost businesses.

Oxford City Council is set to implement two sections of seating in Broad Street this month for Café Crème, Italiamo and Triple Two Coffee.

It follows the part-pedestrianisation of St Michael’s Street until next September, plus temporary seating in George Street, Cornmarket Street and the High Street.

Read also: St Michael's Street to stay closed to traffic for another year

But campaigners calling for the full pedestrianisation of Broad Street believe more ambitious measures are needed.

Outdoor seating means businesses can increase capacity while maintaining social distancing and the council’s cabinet member for the city centre, Covered Market and culture, Mary Clarkson, feels it has made a vital difference.

She said: “Four businesses have told us they would not have reopened after lockdown if we had not provided them with space outdoors for tables and chairs.

“Others are saying that the project has been the difference between them staying open and not, so this is vital work that is providing a lifeline for businesses and protecting jobs in the city.

“We have plans to pedestrianise other streets in Oxford to support businesses, which we are working on urgently in the background.

Oxford Mail:

“But if there are any other businesses in the city that have not yet got in touch with us and think the area outside their premises could be pedestrianised, please do get in touch.”

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The city council is speaking to highways authority Oxfordshire County Council about using part of a loading bay in Broad Street to provide outdoor seating for Cafe Creme and Italiamo.

Separate discussions are under way about pedestrianising a small section of the road outside Triple Two Coffee, with space for 12 tables in total expected to be on offer before the end of October.

Planters, created by Oxford-based social enterprise RAW, will be installed to protect diners.

It follows a similar set-up along Broad Street outside The White Horse pub and Blackwell’s Bookshop, while the city council is working with fast food chain Leon to add outdoor seating for their Cornmarket restaurant.

Read also: All-change at Blackwell's Bookshop post-lockdown

Adam Blaker, property director at Leon, said: “Oxford City Council recently approached us to offer outdoor seating for our Cornmarket Street restaurant.

"We have taken them up on the offer and think this is a brilliant initiative, given the challenges operators are currently facing across the country.

"It is also good for guests who will be able to enjoy our naturally fast food alfresco, respecting current social restrictions.”

While pleased to see more areas of the city being pedestrianised, Oxfordshire Liveable Streets director Danny Yee feels more must be done.

He said: “We want pretty much all of Broad Street pedestrianised and it’s a step towards that.

“It’s good to see, but these are tiny changes in the grand scheme of things.

“Ultimately, it’ll help those businesses and we’ll support it, but we need to shift the whole transport system.”

The council has pedestrianised part of Dawson Street, off Cowley Road, making space for 19 tables for restaurants Café Coco and Kazbar.

Read also: Jericho traders speak out on plans for car-free Walton Street

In Jericho, two parking bays have been removed from Observatory Street to provide daytime outdoor dining for The Jericho Cafe until December 31.

Outdoor seating was set up in George Street in August and September, with a council survey finding most residents and businesses thought the road should be pedestrianised permanently.

Most projects have been paid for by the government’s reopening high streets safely fund or the council’s community infrastructure levy.