Published: Friday, 10 May 2024

Oxford City Council has completed the main work on improvements making Market Street more pedestrian-friendly for an 18-month trial period. 

This work includes: 

  • surface improvements, wider footways, new cycle racks and the addition of outdoor seating and planting to support the Covered Market and increase visitors 
  • a reduction in the number of loading bays available on the street, which will be accompanied by increased monitoring of parking regulations 
  • 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 public realm improvements for as wide a range of people as possible 

Final drainage and edging works should be complete in the coming weeks.  

The pedestrian-friendly trial follows the granting of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order by Oxfordshire County Council to help deliver the improvements.  

Construction was undertaken by the Council’s direct services company ODS, with the help of a £50,000 contribution from Oxfordshire County Council and £163,500 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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

The Market Street trial is part of a wider vision for the Covered Market which - among other improvements - will consider extra cycle parking and the refurbishment and potential relocation of the toilet block. 

Next steps 

The Market Street trial will last for 18 months, and the changes will be monitored and kept under review. A formal consultation will take place for the six months following the start of the trial and feedback will be invited from the public and stakeholders.  

Any decision on making the changes permanent will need to be made before the end of the trial and take account of consultation results. 

Vehicle access to the Covered Market service yard for traders and to the Northgate Health Centre entrance for Blue Badge holders has now been reinstated. 


“Spring has finally arrived and I’m so pleased to see the transformation of Market Street complete in time to enjoy it! 

“The new layout is already proving popular with residents and visitors and I hope that as more people use the new space, it will become the extension and gateway to the Covered Market and other local businesses that we hope. 

“We’re interested to hear from people about how they find the changes in order to shape future plans, so please do take the time to feedback.” 

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

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