Bradford on Avon’s Historic Core Zone scheme aims to ‘rebalance’ the relationship between pedestrians and vehicles, but has divided opinion in the town.

One side says it will be a ‘boost’ while the other says ‘dream on, get real’...

Gerald Milward-Oliver, director of Bradford on Avon Development Trust, believes the HCZ will transform the centre of Bradford on Avon for the better.

He argues: “The Historic Core Zone represents a £2.5 million boost to the town centre.

“Two hundred years ago, people would have treated Bradford on Avon’s narrow medieval streets as another room, somewhere to greet friends and do business. Today the medieval street pattern remains, but people have been squeezed to the edge by motor vehicles that dominate and intimidate.

“The Historic Core Zone is a £2.5m plus project, paid for by Wiltshire Council, that will give priority to people rather than cars.

"The first phase covers Market Street, followed by Station Approach and Knees Corner.

"The project will make the town centre an altogether more pleasant place in which to walk, shop and mix with friends, while still providing through movement for traffic.

“There are five key benefits:

  • A clearly identifiable area, covering the town centre, making it clear to drivers that pedestrians have equal rights;
  • Ease of movement for people, including mobility-impaired, through wider pavements;  
  • 15 clearly defined crossings (five times as many as now), designed to make it safer for pedestrians to cross. Most will be on a raised table, forcing vehicles to slow down, and defined by bollards; 
  • A substantial improvement to public space, with unnecessary ‘signs and lines’ removed; and
  • Potentially significant economic boost, with a calmer, safer more attractive environment.

“The HCZ resulted from intensive consultation in 2008-10, when community groups came together to find solutions to the town’s traffic problems.

"A questionnaire circulated to over 6,000 homes resulted in 800 detailed replies. The primary concern was the need to make streets safer and more pleasant for pedestrians.

"A public meeting was followed by a workshop involving people from all parts of the community – children, the elderly, parents, businesses, etc – led by two leading experts. More public meetings and house-to-house consultation led to Council approval in 2011.

“Schemes similar to the Historic Core Zone have been introduced successfully across the UK and continent. It works. It’s safer. It tilts the balance in favour of pedestrians rather than cars and lorries. It will transform the centre of Bradford on Avon for the better.”

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