Four Oxford college heads have joined an alliance calling for an end to "clutter and mess" in Broad Street.

The meeting, chaired by Magdalen president, Anthony Smith, expressed serious concerns about the sorry state of the historic Oxford street.

The college heads joined architects, Oxford Preservation Trust, consumer groups and Oxford Civic Society at a meeting, which may now lead to the creation of a Friends of Broad Street group.

The meeting called on Oxford City Council to rethink parking and address the safety of cyclists and pedestrians amid the confusion brought by the OTS.

The Magdalen President said: "One cannot help be concerned about the state of what should be the most beautiful street in the university city."

The meeting, held at Exeter College, agreed on the need for a conservation plan to be quickly drawn up.

Work on Broad Street is unlikely to begin until 2003 and even then it could require an injection of private money.

She said a number of colleges would be meeting to work out how closely they might be involved in bringing about improvements.

Architect Robert Franklin, who helped organise the Exeter College meeting, said: "It is too late to do anything about Cornmarket but unless a major benefactor suddenly appears we have got at least two or three years to sort out Broad Street."