ROAD safety campaigners have welcomed a decision to reinstall a pedestrian crossing outside Marriotts Walk shopping centre after a five-month battle.

Oxfordshire County Council has decided to pay for the £25,000 crossing after it was missed off the original plans for the development, which opened in October. A crossing used to be outside Nuffield Health Centre, in Welch Way, and campaigners were left baffled after it was removed and not replaced.

There was concern about the number of people heading to the centre with nowhere safe to cross.

However, the Witney Gazette can reveal a crossing will be built after a petition with more than 500 signatures was collected.

Rodney Rose, county councillor for transport, admitted the crossing had been missed off the plans, but County Hall would foot the bill.

Michael Hocken, Living Streets member, added: “This is great news, but the only problem is that, because the county council did not pick it up then, it will have to pay.

“A zebra crossing means that people can cross when they want to, and they do not have to wait.”

A petition with 543 signatures calling for the crossing to be re-instated was collected by Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Dawn Barnes this month.

She said: “We have spoken to local people and groups about the need to reinstate the crossing. It is clear that one is needed if we are going to ensure that people feel safe while doing their shopping and other business in Witney town centre. Getting rid of the crossing was illogical, and seems to have been badly thought out.

“It was the easiest petition I have ever done in my life. People would struggle to cross the road just to sign the petition.”

Mr Rose said: “The crossing had been missed off plans. It is paid for by the developer when it is written into the original planning arrangement. It was not done then, and was completely missed off, so I am afraid we will have to pick up the tab for it.”

He said that the zebra crossing would be completed during the next financial year. It will be positioned outside the shopping centre.

Brigitte Hickman, of Witney’s Living Streets group, led the way in asking the county council for the crossing.

Mrs Hickman, of Farmers Close, said: “I think a zebra crossing will work, as drivers in Witney are considerate and will slow down.”

About 9,000 vehicles use Welch Way, in both directions, each day.