The centre of Saffron Walden could be partially closed in future, after 75% of people told a consultation they would prefer some sort of closure in the Market Square and adjoining roads.

Councillors at the town council's Assets and Services Committee on Monday unanimously agreed to recommend a partial road closure to Full Council on March 14.

A supplementary report will consider whether this request is limited to certain times of the day.

The committee noted that a suitable compromise should be met from an accessibility perspective for deliveries and those less mobile.

The meeting heard 1,494 people took part in the seven week town centre road closure consultation. Of the responses, over 70% (949) were made by people who live or work in Saffron Walden. The town council report said this represents over 6% of the population of the town including 14% of businesses.

The consultation asked people if they preferred: 1. All roads closed (pedestrianisation); 2. Partially open/closed - This would retain the pedestrian area of Market Square but re-open King Street / part of Market Street for cars or 3. All roads open to traffic, all year.

Within options one and two, there were then options of when the road closures might take place. These were: All of the time; 8am to 4pm only; April to October only; or three days a week only.

The results found:

· 40% asked for all roads to be closed

· 35% asked for a partial road closure, which would allow cars to drive through King Street and out along Market Street, while the Square and Market Hill would be for pedestrians.

· 25% asked for all roads to be open, allowing cars to park and drive through the Market Square.

The majority when asked when full or partial road closures should be in place said ‘all of the time’.

More than 700 people told the consultation they had further views.

More than a quarter (26%) discussed accessibility for visitors, deliveries and those less mobile, 19% spoke about car parking and traffic congestion, 18% asked for more events and tables and chairs in the Square, and 14% raised concerns for businesses as people would not be able to easily 'pop in'.

The Full Council decision will be submitted to Essex Highways, which will in turn trigger a further consultation process. Changes could take 12 to 18 months to come into force.

The presentation to the town council's Assets and Services Committee is here: