Broad Street in Oxford -- once considered one of the most beautiful thoroughfares in Europe -- will be the focus of a £35,000 study to see if it can be returned to its former glory.

It is hoped the project will help herald a new future for the historic street, which has been criticised in recent years for clutter, wooden flower boxes and poor parking arrangements.

A package of improvements promised as part of the Oxford Transport Strategy failed to materialise and many shopkeepers said they had suffered years of falling trade.

The study has been arranged by the Oxford Preservation Trust, with backing from Oxford University, colleges along the street, Oxford Civic Society, English Heritage and the city and county councils.

The study will be undertaken by landscape and urban design consultant Kim Wilkie, a former student at New College, Oxford. His recent work includes designs for Hyde Park Corner in London.

Debbie Dance, secretary for the Oxford Preservation Trust, said: "This is a very exciting moment -- the start of finding the right solution for Broad Street.

"We want to see it looking glorious -- full of life and working."

Mr Wilkie's brief is to examine all aspects of Broad Street, including paving surfaces, lighting and traffic. He is expected to complete his report by the end of the year.