Plans to create a temporary public square at Broad Street in the city centre this summer have been given the green light after Oxford City Council’s application to close part of the street to traffic was approved.
From Saturday 26 June, wooden seating and planters made from local recyclable material will be installed, creating a safe and pleasant outdoor place for residents and visitors to relax and enjoy.
The City Council also hopes to include high-quality community and arts events in the space over the summer, with a two-way cycle route to be preserved throughout Broad Street.
From 01 July, the new recreational space, called Broad Meadow, will be opened to the public. This outdoor space will contain wildflower meadows and lawns and places for Oxford residents and visitors to sit and meet with friends and family.
Drop-down bollards will also be installed near the junctions with Magdalen Street East and Turl Street to restrict vehicle access between 8.00am and 9.00pm, transforming the street into a more people-friendly area with less traffic and safer cycling.
The design of one of Oxford city centre’s largest outdoor public spaces was developed by public realm experts LDA Design and informed through discussions with technical experts and local stakeholders, as well as with businesses and advocacy groups.
The City Council is seeking to promote the safe use of the city centre over the summer, to support Oxford’s economic recovery and to inform the development of longer-term options for creating better civic spaces on Broad Street and in other parts of the city in the future.
The Council is prioritising the use of local suppliers and seeking to support the environment by using recycled materials and re-using furniture after the scheme is finished. The furniture will have laser-cut slogans on them (“I used to carry vaccines” and “I am recycled”) as elements of their substructure were involved in carrying medicines, and all the wood is being re-used.
The changes will not impact the bus stops or the County Council’s public car park in Broad Street. Access will also be maintained from Broad Street to Market Street, which is the main route for deliveries to and from the Covered Market.
Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon at Oxford City Council, said: “Oxford’s iconic Broad Street will become Broad Meadow, an outdoors space for all to enjoy. The creation of this large outdoor public space will be a shot in the arm for the whole of the city, helping to bring people together safely. Our aim is to pedestrianise more of the city and give all of Broad Street back to people in the long-term.”