An Historic Core Zone for Bradford on Avon

People in Bradford on Avon want something done about the traffic; intimidation, difficulty crossing the road, air pollution, noise, etc.

But most of us are sometimes pedestrians and sometimes part of the traffic. And the town’s economy depends upon people wanting to come to Bradford to see it and to spend money here.

We don’t like the way traffic now affects the town, but we don’t want to be without it either. How can we solve this one?

A number of old towns facing similar problems have created an “Historic Core Zone” in their central areas. The idea is now being developed for Bradford on Avon. It started in the “Taming the Traffic” consultation that you may remember from about 18 months ago; as part of this an Action Group was set up to develop the idea.

Wiltshire Council has recently appointed consultants, Colin Buchanan, to develop proposals. What would an HCZ in Bradford mean? The idea is to re-think our streets so that pedestrians and cyclists would have greater priority.

Central Bradford would be somewhere where it would be pleasant just to stroll around on a summer evening. There are many possible ways of achieving this –

  • widening footpaths and narrowing roads; and introducing “shared space”, without kerbs to separate pedestrian and vehicles;
  • discouraging unnecessary journeys and designing the roads to reduce traffic speeds (a 20 mph limit is usual in other HCZs);
  • making it less difficult to cross the road;
  • using street-side parking to narrow the roadway and slow down traffic;
  • keeping out heavy and over large lorries; and many more.

And it is not just about the relationship between pedestrians and motorists. An HCZ should also make the town look nicer: by reducing the number of street signs and of markings painted on the road, by careful choice of materials for paving and for lampposts and seats, and by planting of trees and bushes.

We will all have a chance to comment on the consultants’ proposals in a few months time. Meanwhile, for more information or to add your own comments, go to

Click here to watch a video illustrating the principles / ideas

(Contributed by: David Moss)


    • I strongly object to this historic zone development. There is no chance of making Bradford safe for pedestrians without proper zebra crossings ,unless a one-way system is arranged. Traffic just will not co-operate with optional crossings.Added to that this is financial madness.

    • Couldn’t disagree more.

      One-way systems allow the traffic to go faster – that’s how they work. That’s the complete opposite of what most people on the pavement want.

    • I disagree with the statement about zebra crossings. I don’t believe the pro-zebra campaign is based on evidence, and is knee jerk reaction.

      The HCA proposal is based on evidence and studies on modern traffic systems around the country. To simply claim that these studies are wrong without providing any data to back it up is madness.

    • I sincerely hope that the zebra crossings aren’t removed. People need a clearly defined place to cross the road. ‘Courtesy crossings’ rely on the goodwill of drivers to stop for pedestrians – I just can’t see that happening in BoA given the volume of traffic. I walk around the town regularly with my 4 young children and I can only surmise that the people making the decisions on the HCZ either don’t live in BoA or they use their cars rather than walk. Aesthetic considerations should never take priority over pedestrian safety. I do think this type of HCZ could work in some towns – just totally unsuitable for a place like BoA. It seems odd spending so much money on this scheme when it could have a detrimental effect on the small businesses in the town. If people are nervous crossing the road then they will be reluctant to use the shops and trade could suffer. I have lived here for 9 years and know a lot of people in the town who feel the same way. Hopefully common sense will prevail and the zebra crossings will remain in situ.

    • Susie, do you have any evidence to support what you claim – or are you just saying what makes sense to you?

      Counter to your claim, the volume of traffic makes it safer for pedestrians. With higher volumes come lower speeds. With a shared space comes extra care. You can think of it as “one big zebra crossing”, if you like.

      Watch the video about Poynton to see how these same fears were raised there, but the outcome was a huge improvement for the town.

      • No Daryl, I don’t have claim to have ‘hard evidence’ – just my own experience of walking around the town and using the zebra crossings on an almost daily basis. I have watched the video and I’m afraid I’m still not convinced. What works for one place won’t necessarily work for BoA as it’s got unique problems. Evidence of the type you’re claiming remains hypothetical until it’s actually tested in the town where it’s going to be implemented. I should add that as well as a pedestrian I am also a car driver. I know how incredibly frustrating it is trying to get through the heart of BoA at busy times. Drivers often get impatient when they are forced to travel at a snail’s pace and are therefore LESS likely to stop for pedestrians unless they HAVE to. Sorry if this sounds negative but I’ve seen how reluctant some people are to stop at the zebra crossings so I’m not convinced they’ll choose to stop at a ‘courtesy crossing’ when they don’t have to. I guess we’ll have to agree to differ on this one!

        • Fear of change is natural, but please try to understand what is being planned. The proposal is not to simply remove the crossing, but to re-design the whole road to make it pedestrian friendly.

          There really is no such thing as “hypothetical evedence”. The evedence is based on experiments with traffic flows as well as the results of real roads that have been modified in similar locations.

          There is a clear traffic problem in BOA centre and it needs to be addressed. Either you can try and keep the old failing system, or apply modern methods to solve the problem. I support the latter.

      • “One big zebra crossing” is a frightening thought! Pedestrians and motorists need to have the confidence to move wherever it is their right to do so. This is a recipe for accidents to pedestrians and the traffic to come to a complete standstill -you can hardly say that traffic rushes through the town at present. Poynton is not Bradford on Avon it has a completely different road layout.

        • Once again, where is your evedence? How do you know it’s a recipient for disaster? Did you just work it out for yourself, or do you have a source? Please post a link if you do.

          Poynton is not an isolated case, it’s a single case study.

    • Poynton – Still much traffic, whilst residents are pleased to lose the Traffic Lights with multi-lanes on a straight and very busy commuter A road they still want a by-pass and complain how the block paving used is already becoming dislodged by the traffic and requires maintenance

      BOA is nothing like the aspect of Poynton – narrow bends on historic streets, drainage and flooding issues

      The only solution could be to narrow the roads and widen the pavements and get rid of the crossings but not this way – how?
      Make Silver Street one way down hill from the junction at New Road and Market Street one way up hill, safer junctions, no blind spots, no short cuts along Newtown by commuters and no access for Lorries either!!

      The proposed Historic Zone frightens me for many reasons not least the costs!.

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