OverallPlan CV19 20

COVID-19 Safer Public Spaces –
Market Place Pedestrianisation & Survey

Safer Public Spaces

In order to facilitate better social distanced areas within the Market Place and to encourage a safer environment for visiting businesses in the town, Wantage Town Council, following the Government’s Guidance for COVID-19: Safer Public Spaces – Urban Centres and Green Spaces, introduced the pedestrianisation of the Western End of the Market Place on Saturday 4th July as an emergency measure.  This is now a temporary implementation for 18 months during COVID-19.

Survey (Please complete the Survey)

A consultation survey, which can be accessed here, is being undertaken about the closure of the Western End and also asking opinion about further temporary pedestrianisation.  Your input on the survey will assist the Town Council on whether we seek to implement the full plan or just stay with the Western End for now.  The survey will run until midnight 31 October 2020.

Pedestrianisation Plan

Wantage Town Council has created a plan to improve on social distanced areas within the Market Place as a whole, make the area safer for the public to visit and to engage with local businesses.   The plan, which is much more complex than just closing the Western End, involves bus services, highways, disabled parking, parking and taxi availability.  The plan was submitted to Oxfordshire County Council asking for comment and guidance.  Having received comment from OCC we have made the plan public.

Outline of Plan

  • South side of Market Place closed to unauthorised traffic.
  • Two-way traffic on North side of Market Place with 20 mph speed limit.
  • Buses and Taxis to be accommodated in Eastern end of Market Place.
  • Pedestrian area to be extended to cover the highway on Southern side of Market Place from Western end to crossing by Statue and up towards the Bell Public House.
  • Car park to West of statue to remain open but 3 parking spaces designated for the disabled leaving 11 (30 minute) parking spaces for general public.
  • No Access to and from Market Place to Newbury Street.
  • Newbury Street from Market Place to Post Office Lane pedestrianised (2 disabled parking spaces).

Plan in PDF Format

Overall

Western End

Market Place Centre (Bus version)

Car Park (Image Version)

Bus/Taxi Area (Image Version)

Newbury Street

 

Opening Wantage Town Centre Safely

The Council and its staff would like residents to be assured that we are working hard behind the scenes to find ways, in line with Government policy, of creating a town centre environment that feels safe to all potential users.

The closure of the western end of the Market Place has been welcomed and enjoyed by many and we are liaising with those who have raised concerns.

Following discussion with various interested parties, detailed plans for a larger closure have been drawn up  and submitted. Further discussions are ongoing and the Council will let you know as soon as they can what the next steps will be. Please keep checking the Council website for updates.

We take this opportunity to give a huge thank you to all our residents who are doing their best to keep each other safe in these challenging times

Bikes

New Bike Stands in Wantage

New Bicycle Stands have been installed around the Market Place and at the Bus Stop at the Charlton Road Roundabout to encourage cycling within the town.

 

UPDATE – Wantage is opening safely

The Town Council has taken on board the comments and concerns about the proposal to temporarily close the southern side of the Market Place from 12 July, with the loss of parking spaces. It is still keen to proceed with a scheme that provides more pedestrian space in the Market Place and assists social distancing.

Over the coming week the Town Clerk will be working with highway officers to consider how any loss of parking spaces can be reduced and determine how other concerns, including disabled parking, taxi parking, bus stops and loading/unloading can be addressed. This will also involve consulting with those that have expressed concerns. As a result the introduction of a scheme in the centre of the Market Place may be delayed. It is still planned to temporarily pedestrianise the area to the west of the Market Place, (in front of Marmalade, 30 Something and The King Alfred’s Head) from 4 July.

The Town Council is acutely aware both of the government’s desire that local authorities should take steps to ensure that opportunities for social distancing in our high streets are maximised and at the same time the need to support local retail and hospitality businesses who have been so badly hit during the lock down.  There remain a significant number of people who are anxious about leaving their homes let alone visiting the shops.  The more the Town Council can do to allay these fears by creating more and safer pedestrian space the better it will be for footfall in our Market Place and beyond.

The Town Council does wish to do the best for the town in these difficult times and would welcome thoughts or ideas on how best to provide additional temporary pedestrian space without losing too many parking spaces. As previously advised, please e mail: clerk@wantagetowncouncil.gov.uk with suggestions.

Civil Parking Enforcement Introduction

Civil Parking Enforcement

South Oxfordshire District Council – Cherwell District Council – Vale of White Horse District Council – Oxfordshire County Council

Councils working together to understand feasibility of progressing

Introduction

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) is the decriminalisation of most on-street parking offences such as parking on a double yellow line meaning they are no longer considered a criminal offence.

By introducing Civil Parking Enforcement, the enforcement of these offences transfers from the Police to local authorities who employ Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) to patrol and issue fixed penalty notices.

While Oxford City (County Council service) and West Oxfordshire currently operate Civil Parking Enforcement for on-street parking, in the districts of Cherwell, South & Vale parking offences are still a police matter. Currently Thames Valley Police’s resources are understandably prioritised on matters other than parking enforcement. Such parking violations however are of significant frustration to local residents and businesses alike.

Therefore the County Council, Cherwell, Vale, and South Oxfordshire District Councils have therefore been working in partnership to explore the business case for implementing CPE within these areas.

There has been a long-term desire to create a common approach across Oxfordshire with regards to parking in order to enhance our ability to better manage traffic flows in our towns and villages.

What we have done so far

A cross-authority officer-led working group commissioned an initial feasibility study to consider different operating options available to the councils along with what initial and ongoing investment would be required.

The results of this work will be reviewed by the working group upon its imminent completion, and the group is expecting for initial review by senior officers and relevant members by April.

To enable CPE to be enforced across the county it is essential that signage is correct and road markings are of a sufficient standard. Oxfordshire County Council officers are currently carrying out condition survey samples in order to provide indicative costs to bring the markings up to an enforceable standard.

Programme

Below is an outline planned programme officers are working to.  It should be noted that applications for CPE are often grouped by the DfT and exact guidance will be sought to clarify when an application will be accepted. The DfT are advising the turnaround time on applications is currently 20 weeks.

Indicative time scales

February 2020 Completion of conditioning surveys including key villages
March 2020 Completion of feasibility studies assessing CPE
March 2020 – June 2020 Discussion and agreement on option to progress including formal sign off/approval by all councils concerned.
June 2020 – November 2020 Development of CPE bid including relevant consultations
November 2020 Submission of bid to DfT
December 2020 – June 2021 Assessed by DfT (Anticipated turnaround time c. 20 weeks)
June 2021 Tendering for CPE contracts
September 2021 Estimated go live

 

Climate Emergency

Wantage Town Council Launches Climate Change Initiative

Wantage Town Council has added its voice to the growing environmental debate by declaring a Climate Emergency and establishing a new Sub Committee to help the Town Act on this. At its inaugural meeting this month Councillors pledged to take into account the environmental impact of its decisions and also to reach out to the local community, both householders and businesses. A budget of £10,000 – in part funded from savings made elsewhere – has been established to assist local projects that will contribute to the reduction of our carbon footprint. The new Committee Chair, Dr Angela Dunford says “ We look forward to working with local partner organisations, individuals and businesses to promote initiatives that will have a positive environmental impact. Whether it’s community tree planting, waste reduction, energy advice or many other areas, we believe we owe it to future generations to play our small part in this global issue,”

Vice-Chair Erik Johnson added, “ Meetings of the Committee will be open to the public and we would encourage anyone with an interest or positive suggestions to contribute. Alternatively, ideas and suggestions can be sent to the Town Council. “

Contact details, meeting dates and rules available on the website.

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