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.
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.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com with suggestions.
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.