Town unfriendly for pedestrians, claims Oswestry Civic Society
Calls for changes to Oswestry’s traffic system have been made by the town’s Civic Society.
The society wants funds granted to the town by the High Street Heritage Action Zone to be used to make the market town more welcoming for pedestrians.
It says such changes are urgently needed, with some areas seeing people having to step out into the road and much of the town centre dominated by vehicles.
Oswestry is to be granted up to £500,000 by the Government following a successful bid by the Future Oswestry group.
David Ward, from the Oswestry and District Civic Society, said it supported the work of local councils and the Business Improvement District in putting the grant funds to use and was making proposals for changes to make the town more welcoming for its users.
These include diverting traffic from Oswald Road into Black Gate Street, removing traffic signals at the top of Oswald Road and making Leg Street one way northwards.
“This would smooth traffic, reduce pollution and make the street much more pleasant in which to window shop,” Mr Ward said.
The society says resurfacing the streets with porous asphalt which is a much quieter surface, would make the centre a quieter place to be.
Other calls are to make more footpath space available at a pedestrian pinch point in Church Street and to change the town’s pelican crossing phasing in favour of pedestrians.
Mr Ward added: “It has long been the view of the Civic Society that the pedestrian environment in parts of the town centre are in urgent need of improvement.
“Spending money on heritage improvements will be made more effective is accompanied by changes to make the centre a more pleasant place.
“These changes could be made at little or no cost to make the town more welcoming.
"The society says that while Bailey Street works well for pedestrians other streets are poor. It is our view that parts of Oswestry centre now fall far behind many other centres in terms of the experience of pedestrians.
"Much of Church Street fails badly, pedestrian movement is not free, and often interaction between pedestrians leads to one being too close to moving vehicles, or actually stepping into the road."
Shropshire Council says the Government grant scheme was designed to secure lasting improvements to historic high streets and the communities who use them.
In welcoming the funding, deputy leader Councillor Steve Charmley said the package would be used to employ a project officer, set up a physical grants programme of £300,000 for the improvement of the town's buildings and set up a £100,000 cultural programme.
Matched funding for the cultural programme would be provided by the around £12,500 per year the local community raised for its heritage open days.