Work on the first phase of Bradford on Avon’s Historic Core Zone could start as early as September if it is given the green light by Wiltshire Council.

The Wiltshire Council-funded scheme will give priority to pedestrians rather than cars and will cost more than £2.5m – which has been budgeted for in this financial year.

An open meeting at St Margaret’s Hall on Tuesday, organised by the Seniors’ Forum, was called to hear updates on the project.

The HCZ’s first phase focuses on Market Street and would see the introduction of a raised surface between the Swan Hotel and The Shambles to slow cars, five pedestrian courtesy crossings – which will look similar to zebra crossings – and extra bollards to stop traffic going onto the pavement.

Double yellow lines will be removed but signs at the gateways to the HCZ will warn drivers that they can only park in designated areas.

The meeting was attended by about 100 people, many of whom showed their support.

Resident Julia Rooth said: “I think it’s laudable and I totally hope it happens. I think it will give Bradford a real boost and it will give it a commercial future.”

When asked when work would start David Moss, chairman of the HCZ Group and Preservation Trust, said it was likely to be in the autumn, possibly September.

Advocates of the Historic Core Zone were asked why the zebra crossing near to the Dandy Lion had to be removed as part of the scheme.

Simon Fisher, chairman of the town council HCZ working group, said: “The important thing is to make sure the ladder effect of the sequence of crossings through the zone was brought home effectively to motorists.

"If you interrupt that by taking out some of the crossings and having crossings of different status you bring in confusion.”

Residents were also told that the zone would not exacerbate tailback problems. The final decision on whether to proceed and allocate resources to phase one will be made by Cllr John Thomson, Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for highways.