Bradford on Avon’s Historic Core Zone continued to divide opinion when it was raised at the annual town meeting on Tuesday.

The HCZ aims to rebalance the relationship between motorists and pedestrians and phase one focuses on the Market Street /Church Street junction.

The proposals are pavement widening, removal of yellow lines and removal of the zebra crossing to be replaced with five striped courtesy crossings.

Mike Brigham, who runs Bradford on Avon Taxis, attended the meeting to hear about the scheme, which was initiated by community campaign group Priority for People and adopted by Wiltshire Council.

He said: “Their sole aim is to drive the traffic out of Bradford on Avon; they don’t care where it goes.

“It is nonsense to think this is going to work.

“I don’t think people realise the amount of chaos this will cause. This is not going to help the traffic problems in Bradford on Avon.

“We cannot change the fact that the town is a major thoroughfare.

“People have businesses to run and children to drop off at schools. They have to come through the town and they are not offering an alternative.”

Georgina Knight, who runs The Olive Tree shop in Market Street, set up a petition last month encouraging people to support the scheme. She attended the meeting and said: “Councillor Simon Fisher (town councillor) gave a good overview about the history of the HCZ and the various things that have been looked at to find a solution to the traffic problem.

“The one way system was brought up and explained why it wouldn’t work and Councillor Rosemary Brown (Wiltshire Councillor for Bradford on Avon North) answered concerns about the air pollution.

“From the sound of the clapping there were far more people for the scheme than against it.”

The first stage of the HCZ is awaiting final sign-off by Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for highways, Cllr John Thomson, and it is hoped work on the first phase will begin during the summer.