Wantage traders have heralded a major step forward in their campaign against expanding pedestrianisation in part of the town centre.

Wantage Town Council wants to increase the car-free zone in the western end of Market Place by seven metres, remove six parking spaces, and move the two disabled parking spots and the taxi rank.

Business owners fear it would affect deliveries and “kill” their trade.

READ MORE: Almost 500 homes approved in Kidlington near Oxford

At a meeting last Monday (October 2), in which various traders voiced their concerns, the council agreed to reconsult businesses before a final decision is made.

Councillor Andy Crawford, who chaired the meeting, said it could lead to the plans being tweaked.

Herald Series: Rob Corlett, the owner of Dolphin Gallery, has objected to the plansRob Corlett, the owner of Dolphin Gallery, has objected to the plans (Image: Rob Corlett)

Rob Corlett, the owner of Dolphin Gallery, said it was a “positive sign” from the council.

“It’s been a bit of a shabby process from the town council, but it is a completely positive sign that they have listened to what businesses require,” he said.

“We want to work with them and give suggestions which work with their pedestrianisation ambitions but also work with the businesses in the town.

“If we hadn’t mounted such opposition to the consultation and if we hadn’t raised these issues, it would have been a catastrophe for the town.

“That space is needed as a loading bay for the whole of the marketplace. That clearly wasn’t investigated enough.

“It would have had consequences for the whole town.”

Steve Taylor, chairman of the Wantage Chamber of Commerce, a voluntary organisation which represents businesses in the town, said: “It was a good result, both for the town council and for the residents and businesses in this area.

“It means the council can look at the proposal and potentially make revisions.

“I believe there is a balance that can be struck if facilities are put in for the businesses so they can access their deliveries and the taxi rank wasn’t cut down so many places.”

Herald Series: Part of the western end of Market Place is already pedestrianisedPart of the western end of Market Place is already pedestrianised (Image: Ed Nix)

Part of the western end of Market Place – around Alfred Street and Church Street - is already car-free, but the pedestrianised zone would be enlarged under these new plans by Wantage Town Council.

Several traders have opposed the expansion plans.

READ MORE: Rides and stalls are ready at Abingdon's Michaelmas Fair

The owners of Creations gift shop, Coleman & Coleman Jewellers, Marmalade cafe, Blackbird Bar, The King Alfred's Head pub, and Wantage Motorist Centre all claim they could be affected.

Mr Crawford said: “The pedestrianisation has been very popular with residents and we appreciate there are difficulties for some traders with their deliveries.

“The last thing we want to do it make life difficult for traders.

“If they feel it needs to be reassessed based on the results of the questionnaire, we are certainly amenable to doing so.”