New plan bans traffic from streets near Bristol's St Nicholas Market
An ambitious scheme which would see traffic banned from large parts of the area around St Nicholas Market in Bristol city centre has been unveiled.
The plan, which will see most of Corn Street closed to traffic, was drawn up by Bristol’s mayor George Ferguson following talks pressure groups and retailers.
Mr Ferguson is keen to market Bristol as a European style city and the plan is to transform the area around the popular market into a key tourist destination.
As well as changing the traffic flows, parking bays will be removed, street signs cleared away and decking and new planting introduced throughout the Old City area.
George Ferguson decided to press ahead with the scheme after a survey carried out by the Living Heart group found that 70 per cent of people in the area supported the plans.
Steve Melia ,from the pressure group. said: “We carried out a survey of shoppers on Corn Street and found most people wanted to see the pedestrian area extended.
“We were delighted that the council and the Mayor have responded positively to the consultation. This plan will bring new life to Bristol’s oldest quarter and we hope it will be the first of many small steps to reclaim our city centre from the traffic which dominates it at the moment.”
He added: “The council did have a scheme but we did not think it went far enough. This is a really ambitious project which will hopefully completely change the character of the area and make it much more accessible for pedestrians. Traffic has tended to dominate the area and this scheme is a way of changing that while still allowing people to get in and out of the area.
A workshop is being held so people affected by the changes can see the proposals at first hand.
The plans include removing through traffic from Corn Street north of St Nicholas Street to create a more pedestrian-friendly, continental-style environment and encourage more on-street activity.
There are also plans to cut the number of traffic signs to make the area more welcoming and launch monthly Saturday markets along Corn Street.
The traffic system would last for a year from this summer but will be extended if it is a success and there are high hopes that the St Mary le Port site next to Castle Park will finally be redeveloped.
George Ferguson said: “The Old City area is the historic heart of the city and a key part of our heritage. The proposals, which we have consulted widely on, will help make it more attractive, more visitor-friendly and more vibrant, drawing in tourists and Bristolians alike.
“The launch of a Saturday market will also give local businesses a shot in the arm, as will my 'Make Sundays Special' initiative starting in June during Big Green Week.”
Guy Poultney, cabinet member for Homes, Planning and Regeneration, said: “Small businesses and independent traders like those in the Old City are at the heart of our plans for a better Bristol.
“There are some fantastically imaginative and innovative businesses in the Old City area which have been keen to see improvements. We are determined to do all we can for a thriving and vibrant city-centre.”
The scheme includes removing general through traffic from Corn Street and pedestrianising Corn Street north of St Nicholas Street and the top section of Small Street Reversing current traffic on St Nicholas Street would retain access to other areas.
Advertising and A-boards are being removed and there is also a move to get rid of trade bins in the area.
The workshop will be held at The Old Council House on Tuesday, February 26.