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    Oxford City Council makes plans to pedestrianise the city centre

    Matilda Gettins reports on the increased pedestrianisation of the city centre.

    Oxford City Council is planning multiple initiatives to pedestrianise streets in Oxford, including launching a Zero Emission Zone Pilot (ZEZ Pilot) in Oxford City Centre starting August 2021. Between 7am and 7pm, access to the ZEZ will be subject to a road charge based on the vehicle’s emissions. The maximum charge will be £10 per day while emission-free vehicles will face no charge. 

    The ZEZ Pilot will include Cornmarket Street and Queen street (from Waterstones to Westgate), as well as Ship Street, St. Michael’s Street (Location of the Handlebar Cafe and Kitchen), Ship Street and New Inn Hall Street (just after Gloucester Green to Westgate).

    Image credit: Oxfordshire County Council

    A 100 per cent discount” will be offered to students with “acute financial hardship” when moving in and out at the start and end of university terms, with requests for exemptions made via colleges. Further reductions are available for residents and businesses in the zone, blue badge workers and care and health workers.

    The ZEZ Pilot is part of a wider envisaged Zero Emission Zone, which will be launched in Spring 2022 based on the level of the pilot’s success and public consultation. It is planned to span from the entrance to University Parks to just past the main entrance to Christ Church Meadows, and from just before Oxford train station to Magdalen Bridge.

    Oxford City Council has also applied to pedestrianise Broad Street between Magdalen Street East and Turl Street from late June 2021 through to autumn. Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford says that they want to give Broad Street “back to people” and “make more streets safer to walk and cycle”. 

    Many Oxford streets have already been temporarily pedestrianised, particularly to provide more space for outdoor seating. From 12 April onwards, hospitality businesses will be allowed to reopen their outdoor seating. To support them, the City Council has recently launched a funding scheme offering £3,250 per business to recoup costs incurred in infrastructure changes. 

    Jane Campbell-Howard, owner of Society Café in St Michael’s Street, said that Oxford City Council had been “incredibly supportive” and that they were looking forward to serving coffee and “gently and carefully creating a buzz in St Michael’s Street”.

    Image credit: Palickap, distributed under a CC-SA 4.0 License

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