THE recent damage to the Malmesbury Market Cross was totally avoidable and was the sole result of lack of duty of care by both Wilts Council and Malmesbury Council in protecting this Ancient Monument.

Also to blame were Wilts Council for allowing their vehicles to get close enough to the Market Cross to damage it and Malmesbury Council for not providing better protection.

The risk of damage should have been obvious by the very close proximity of traffic and measures should have been put in place long ago. These risks were highlighted in the recent Princes Trust study and an earlier 1980 study but these recommendations for safeguarding the Market Cross were ignored.

For three years now I have been campaigning to improve the Market Cross area by creating a town square fit for an historic town like Malmesbury. Unlike almost every other historic town in the country Malmesbury lacks an attractive central area where people can sit down and meet friends etc. and just enjoy being in the middle of our historic town.

A key element of my proposals was the removal of traffic and parking provisions. In itself this would result in greater protection of the Market Cross. At the same time I felt that re-engineering the road system at the top of the High Street by introducing ramps, granite cobbles etc could manage safer and slower traffic flow both for the protection of the Market Cross as well as pedestrians. These measures are used successfully throughout the country.

I conducted my own comprehensive street survey asking local people and tourists what they thought about improving the Market Cross area and found great support. Malmesbury Council then decided to carry out their own survey but the terms of this survey were so biased towards only retaining parking, without ever promoting the idea of improving the town centre, that the council voted to do nothing.

I feel now that Wilts and Malmesbury Councils should not just carry out repairs to the Market Cross but should put in place proposals for its’ long term protection. These proposals should include pedestrianisation and general improvements to the Market Cross area in order to create a central town square of which Malmesbury can be proud.

I am resolved to carry on my campaign and local support from the people of Malmesbury would be appreciated. I can be contacted on

Terry Fox