Wantage is opening – safely

Following the easing of the pandemic lockdown, the Government has tasked all Local Authorities to implement temporary measures to reopen their Town Centres and High Streets as safely as possible, and to make them more attractive and welcoming for pedestrians and cyclists. These temporary measures could last up to eighteen months.

The first step to facilitate safe use of the town centre will be to temporarily pedestrianise the area to the west of the Market Place, (in front of Marmalade, 30 Something and The King Alfred’s Head) that has been used many times for town events such as Wantage Brass and the Continental Day, and has tremendous potential for events and other uses. The long term aim is to  seek permanent pedestrianisation of this area. The temporary closure provides a test of the obstacles and issues that may need to be overcome to accommodate this. The temporary closure will proceed on 4 July.

In order to enable everyone to maintain social distancing we also plan to close the southern side  of the Market Place, along the lines that many will remember from when the fair was held for the twenty years up to 2015, with two-way traffic on the north side of the Market Place. This will be a temporary change but the Town Council will be consulting on various options to fine tune these changes.  It will also give everyone the chance to think about how they feel about longer term pedestrianisation in the town centre. Please note that during this closure all buses and coaches will have their routes diverted to use the bus stops in Seesen Way, or to alternative locations for picking up and putting down.  Taxis will relocate to Newbury Street. This closure will proceed on 12 July. We will be engaging directly with Grundon and Biffa to ensure waste services can collect. If you are using a different waste collection service, could you please advise?

To make the town centre more cyclist friendly, new cycle racks will be installed in various locations in the Market Place over the next few weeks.

Andrea Yates, the Town Centre Manager, and other members of the Council team, will be engaging with businesses and the public in and around the Market Place over the next few days to deal with any questions or queries. The team will be actively working with those affected by the closure to sort out ways of accommodating deliveries and collections.  If you would like someone to visit or call you, to discuss these arrangements, please email:  The Town Council does intend to conduct a survey, seeking views on this and future arrangements. More information on this will be published shortly.