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Pedestrianisation idea could damage trade
10:00am Wednesday 19th September 2012 in Letters
Sir – Last week’s letter suggesting the pedestrianisation of the High Street made interesting reading.
I fear this would lead to a loss of character for Witney and, crucially, adversely affect trade for town centre businesses and the market. Witney is fortunate to have a reasonably wide High Street, allowing some short-term parking on both sides of the road.
This enables shoppers in a hurry to pop into town on quick errands or to do a little bit of shopping, which, should they have to use the car parks, could take too long for the time they have available.
It’s unusual for the town centre to be congested except during the rush-hour and it doesn’t last long. This will no doubt improve once through-traffic is diverted via the Shores Green link road, should that come to fruition. As an independent trader, the hustle and bustle of a busy High Street is important to my business and no doubt many others.
Many of the pavements are very wide, with good pedestrian access and I get lots of favourable feedback from shoppers – locals and tourists – that Witney is a lovely town to visit and a pleasure to shop in.
There is a good balance of the traditional street shopping of a market town, complimented by the Woolgate, Marriotts and the smaller pedestrianised shopping areas linking to and from the car parks.
Together this makes for a vibrant town centre, whereas other towns that have banned traffic have suffered, with the consequential empty shops that Witney is fortunate to have very few of. Let’s keep the roads open – they are part of the lifeblood of our town.
Janette Reed, Cotswold Kids, Market Square, Witney