Published: Thursday, 21 March 2024

Oxford City Council announces construction work for the Market Street pedestrian-friendly trial is set to begin in April, now that Oxfordshire County Council has given the go-ahead to the ETRO.

Key changes proposed as part of the trial include:  

  • surface improvements, wider footways, new cycle racks and the addition of outdoor seating and planting to support the market and increase visitors 
  • a reduction in the number of loading bays available on the street accompanied by increased monitoring of the parking regulations. 24-hour access for loading and unloading will continue, following the construction phase 
  • rearranging the remaining loading bays to improve safety and use the available space more efficiently  
  • the ability to temporarily close the street for events, markets or other uses to make the most of the public realm improvements for as wide a range of people as possible. 

Oxfordshire County Council has reviewed public and stakeholder feedback on the proposal to use an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) to deliver the Market Street improvements.  The decision to proceed was made by the County Council Cabinet Member for Transport Management on 21st March. 

The design for Market Street improvements by Urban Movement was influenced by feedback received during City Council engagement with stakeholders, the road safety audit process and detailed traffic surveys. 

ODS, the City Council’s wholly owned direct services company, is set to start construction on 2 April 2024 and construction is expected to last three weeks. 

During the construction phase, the road will be closed to vehicles to ensure the swift and safe delivery of the improvements. Loading will be from Turl Street and High Street, with additional loading permitted within specific hours from Cornmarket.  

Pedestrians, bikes and cargo bikes will still be able to access the road during construction and Covered Market traders and Market Street frontages can take advantage of a City Council-funded trial with Velocity for free customer deliveries via cargo bike. 

To provide extra support during peak times, the City Council has also arranged for an additional Covered Market porter. 

Vehicle access to the Covered Market service yard and Northgate Health Centre entrance for Blue Badge holders will be reinstated following the construction phase.  

The Market Street trial will last for 18 months. A formal consultation will take place for the six months following the introduction of the trial scheme and feedback will be invited from the public and stakeholders.  Any decision about whether to make the changes permanent will need to be made before the end of the 18-month trial and take account of the results of the consultation. 

The Market Street trial is part of a wider £6.8m regeneration of the Covered Market which, amongst other improvements, will consider additional cycle parking and the refurbishment and potential relocation of the toilet block. 


"This is an exciting time for Oxford city centre. The pedestrian-friendly improvements to Market Street will help to turn an underused part of the city centre into a vibrant and bustling area to support the market and other local businesses.  

“It has been great to see our Covered Market going from strength to strength over the last few years and to see footfall up to higher levels than before the pandemic. These improvements will help support the market and allow more people to find their way there and to spend time there.” 

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council and Cabinet Member for Inclusive Economy and Partnerships 

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