Traders brand car ban 'chaos'
Retailers have labelled the first days of Kidlington’s new pedestrianisation as “chaotic” and financially damaging.
All cars are banned from High Street, between Watts Road and Oxford Road and the new rules came into force last Monday.
Police have enforced the scheme but retailers said as soon as they left, the drivers returned.
Dave Bartlett, owner of Dave T Bartlett Butchers, said: “On Tuesday and Wednesday, when the police were out in force, we were about a third down in customers.
“That was probably my worst Tuesday and Wednesday ever. I had more people come in when we had heavy snow.”
He said his shop’s baguette deli had been particularly badly hit, with passing trade no longer able to stop and quickly grab food.
Mr Bartlett added: “It is definitely a concern. If that was to carry on you have got to start thinking about getting rid of someone, which I do not want to do.”
Chris Windle, manager of Everything Health & Beauty, said: “It is successful while there are so many police here, but as soon as they go away the cars come back.
“Until they put a barrier or rising bollard in it is going to be the same. No-one takes notice of the signs.
“Another concern is that the council is not going to use the High Street for anything else. We need a market down here to encourage people in.
“We have got to attract people into it, and if you are stopping people coming here they will go elsewhere.”
John O’Shea, owner of DIY store Oxford Building Supplies, said: “The problem is that you have got four policemen stationed at the entrance to the High Street but when they leave all the cars come back again.
“The problem was always that motorists could not care less about double-yellow lines, and now it seems they do could not care less about the pedestrianisation.
“It is total chaos at the moment and I think it will be chaos forever.
“It is not going to work.”
Chris Pack, member of Kidlington Parish Council, which first put forward the plan in 2009, said: “I am happy with how it has gone so far.
“I would say the area is more attractive and, although it did not seem to be completely clear of cars, there are a lot fewer.
“It will take people a little bit of time to get used to it. It is very early days.”
But he added: “I think in the long term we are going to need an automatic barrier in place.”
Cherwell District Council is considering installing a rising bollard but is waiting to see how the scheme fairs without it before making a decision.
Blue badge-holders, cyclists and deliveries are allowed to access the road after 4.30pm and before 10am.
Permit-holders can access at all times but general traffic is banned at all times.
Thames Valley Police has only been reminding drivers of the new rules so far but is expected to start issuing £30 fines for those flouting the ban in the future.