Queen Street pedestrianisation – update
Latest - Secretary of State to decide.
6 July 2017
The County Council has been under pressure from the developers of Westgate to ban buses and taxis permanently from Queen Street. After a public consultation in which we and many others opposed the idea for a variety of reasons, officers recommended the idea should be put on hold until after Westgate opens. They then want an ‘experimental’ closure for six months to assess the impact.
There’s more detailed information in these links:
- our comments on the public consultation – 16 October 2016
- County officers’ recommendations – 17 November 2016
- our view following the recommendation to defer closure – 17 November 2016
The Cabinet Member for Environment referred this matter to the full County Cabinet meeting on 20 December 2016 for a decision. The Cabinet voted 7:2 to close the street to buses when Westgate opens. Buses will be routed via St Aldates and around the Westgate Centre.
This decision is still not settled. This Oxford Mail report published on 11 February 2017 reports that the bus companies may lodge an official objection to the scheme. This would then have to be referred to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, which in turn could mean the County having to justify its decision in an official inquiry.
Meanwhile the County has gone ahead with plans for an 18-month ‘experimental’ closure. We responded to the consultation in June 2017.
The County finally approved the closure in July, but with the bus companies refusing to withdraw their objections the matter will be referred to the Secretary of State for a decision. Whether this can be reached before the opening of the new Westgate in October seems doubtful.