Oxford City Council to apply to pedestrianise half of Broad Street to create public square and event space this summer

Published: Tuesday, 23rd March 2021

Oxford City Council will apply to pedestrianise the western half of Broad Street to create a public square and events space this summer.

The aim is to temporarily pedestrianise the road between Magdalen Street East and just before the junction with Turl Street from late June through to the autumn.

The project will create one of Oxford’s largest city centre public spaces.

Oxford residents and visitors will be able to use the public space to relax, and the City Council will invite event organisers to hold festivities in the space during the summer.

The City Council will apply to the highway authority, Oxfordshire County Council, shortly to pedestrianise this section of the road.

The City Council’s long-term aspiration remains to pedestrianise more of Broad Street to create a large public square similar to other leading European cities. However, given the complexity in achieving this broader aspiration, it is not possible in time for this summer.

Pedestrianising Broad Street

The City Council will commission public realm experts to help design a detailed plan for the temporarily pedestrianised space.

The newly-created space will be designed to function principally as a public square, but the City Council also hopes to include community events in the space over the summer.

The City Council will carry out a public consultation on the proposals, including with disabled individuals and disability organisations, to ensure the pedestrianisation is as inclusive as possible.

The pedestrianisation will not include permanent changes to this section of the road, impact the bus stops in Broad Street or the County Council’s public car park. Access will also be maintained from Broad Street to Market Street, which is the main route for deliveries to and from the Covered Market.

The City Council will draw up more details over the coming months, following engagement with local stakeholders, before its submission to the County Council, which will ultimately decide on the application.

“By creating space for social distancing this summer, the Council will help to create one of Oxford’s largest public spaces. 

“Our aim is to pedestrianise more of the city centre and we are passionate about giving all of Broad Street back to people.

“We want to make more streets safer to walk and cycle – our long-term aim is to create a centre that serves the needs of people.”

Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford

“Broad Street is one of the best streets in Europe and Oxford Preservation Trust has long wanted to see it become a place for everyone to come to gather and enjoy the space.

“The City Council’s initiative this summer will be a wonderful start to this and a great place to enjoy our magnificent buildings in the summer sunshine.”

Debbie Dance, Director of Oxford Preservation Trust

“The Oxford Civic Society welcomes this initiative.

“We look forward to working with the city council to achieve its short and long term aims to make the very best use of Broad Street.”

Ian Green, Chairman of Oxford Civic Society