TRADERS will lock horns with councillors over a £1m scheme to pedestrianise part of Bicester’s Market Square.

Retailers from all corners of the square are furious over a plan by Cherwell District Council and Oxfordshire County Council that will see the north side paved, two-way traffic flow on the south side and 34 parking spaces lost.

Last month Cherwell District Council’s executive gave the design its blessing and next month the plans will go to Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet for final approval.

Traders say they have three main concerns over the pedestrianisation scheme – traffic flow, loss of car parking and access to businesses.

They will hold an emergency meeting and launch a petition.

Keith Wadley, of Wadley’s TV and hi-fi shop in Market Square, said: “Two-way traffic just won’t work.

“Once you get people unloading a lorry the traffic will stop and the town will come to a standstill.

“We can’t afford to lose car parking at this end of the town.

“You can’t shift it to the other end of the town and expect people to walk down here.

“Shops this end are not going to survive.”

Lynn Wright, of Bicester Bed Centre in Market Square, said: “The square is not broken.

“It could be tidied up, but the traffic flows really well.

“We liked the other designs, but don’t think two-way traffic will work.”

About 1,000 people attended exhibitions staged as part of public consultation over the scheme.

Simon Gardner, manager of SH Jones wine merchants, in Market Hill, said: “Without all day access for loading and unloading our business, and most others in the square, cannot operate.”

The traders have been backed by town and district councillor Les Sibley, who believes the scheme should be shelved until the traffic impact of the forthcoming town centre redevelopment scheme is known.

Town, district and county councillor Lawrie Stratford, chairman of the Market Square working party, said two-way traffic and pedestrianisation was the most favoured option from the consulta public consultation.

He said: “Yes, it will be different and there are issues that have to be resolved, like access and loading areas.

“Traders say two-way traffic won’t work, but the engineers all tell us technically it will work.”

He said the town centre redevelopment would provide car parking space nearby and traders had been given a preview of the plans at an exhibition last November.