Calls are growing to pedestrianise Malmesbury’s famous Market Cross.

Retired architect Terry Fox, who has lived in the town for more than 30 years, wants to turn it into a 'traffic-free, environmentally friendly area'.

Last year he produced a sketch of how the Market Cross could look, and he has now received further support following a presentation given to a meeting of Malmesbury’s University of the Third Age (U3A) and some members of the public, at Malmesbury Town Hall. 

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

Mr Fox has spent many months preparing his plan by speaking to residents and researching similar examples elsewhere.

In principle, the plan would mean that instead of parked cars occupying much of the space immediately behind the Market Cross, there would be public seating, tables, trees and other plants, plus traditional lighting. 

Mr Fox says this would mean residents and visitors could buy refreshments from retail outlets in the immediate area and then enjoy them in a clean, pollution- and traffic-free environment. 

A show of hands at the end of the meeting signalled there was unanimous support. 

Mr Fox said: “I was delighted with the response. It will be interesting to learn in due course the response of Malmesbury Town Council.”

Malmesbury town councillor Catherine Doody, who attended the meeting, said: “It was a very interesting and comprehensive presentation, which will now need to be carefully considered by the full council.”

While there appears to be a degree of support for the project, a survey issued by Malmesbury Town Council in 2018 showed 70 per cent expressed a preference for no further pedestrianisation in the town centre. 

At the time the council said there would be no further pedestrianisation of the Market Cross, 'subject to future circumstances indicating there has been a change of opinion or need'.

'A cross-section of views'

Although the land is owned by Wiltshire Council, they have indicated the town council will first have to give their backing before the project could proceed. 

Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Wiltshire Council's cabinet member for transport, said: “We are aware that an individual is interested in pedestrianising areas in Malmesbury. 

"Proposals such as this would need to be discussed with Malmesbury Town Council in the first instance as there will undoubtedly be a cross-section of views within the community. 

"If the town council are supportive, they can bring this to the Local Highway and Footway Improvement Group (LHFIG).”