Oxford City Council will apply to pedestrianise the western section of Broad Street to create a public square and events space this summer.
The aim is to temporarily pedestrianise the road between Magdalen Street East and just before the junction with Turl Street from late June through to the autumn.
The project will create one of Oxford’s largest city-centre public spaces.
Oxford residents and visitors will be able to use the public space to relax, and the City Council will invite event organisers to hold festivities in the space during the summer.
The area could be used for outdoor events like concerts or markets, similar to the Christmas Market which is held there, as well as outdoor seating for nearby restaurants and mobile eateries.
The City Council will apply to the highway authority, Oxfordshire County Council, shortly to pedestrianise this section of the road.
The City Council’s long-term aspiration remains to pedestrianise more of Broad Street, to create a large public square similar to other leading European cities. However, given the complexity in achieving this broader aspiration, it is not possible in time for this summer.
The City Council will commission public realm experts to help design a detailed plan for the temporarily pedestrianised space.
The newly-created space will be designed to function principally as a public square, but the City Council also hopes to include community events in the space over the summer.
The City Council will carry out a public consultation on the proposals that will include disabled individuals and disability organisations to ensure the pedestrianisation is as inclusive as possible.
The pedestrianisation will not include permanent changes to this section of the road. Nor will it impact the bus stops in Broad Street or the County Council’s public car park. Access will also be maintained from Broad Street to Market Street that is the main route for deliveries to and from the Covered Market.
The City Council will draw up more details over the coming months, following engagement with local stakeholders, before its submission to the County Council, who will ultimately decide on the application.
Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford, said, “By creating space for social distancing this summer, the Council will help to create one of Oxford’s largest public spaces.
“Our aim is to pedestrianise more of the city centre, and we are passionate about giving all of Broad Street back to people. We want to make more streets safer to walk and cycle – our long-term aim is to create a centre that serves the needs of people.”
The City Council’s initiative this summer will be a wonderful start to creating a space in the city centre for everyone to come together to enjoy the summer sunshine.
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