WICKFORD High Street will be closed on Saturdays as part of a trial to increase activities in the town.

The first trial took place in December with a summer one due to be finalised.

Malcolm Buckley, county councillor for Wickford and Rayleigh said: “We have agreed a further month period where the road will be closed in the next few weeks to retest public opinion.

“The idea is to implement a part time closure to expand the market, which will also help the High Street.

“My preference is a weekend-only road closure. If you close the road seven days-a-week, traffic would build around Market Avenue and around the schools and roads will be gridlocked.

“A permanent pedestrian only High Street will not work in Wickford.”

Tony Ball, county councillor for Wickford Crouch said: “The closure to the High Street on Saturdays during the Christmas period proved to be popular with shopkeepers and market traders.

“The idea of this second test trial period is to nail down how people feel about the change of bus routes.”

Julian Elliott, commercial manager at First Essex said: “Wickford Town Centre is a busy location and well used by people wanting to use our bus services.

“If the proposed road closure was to go ahead, we would strongly oppose the move due to it potentially causing considerable inconvenience to people wanting to board buses from the two main bus stops in the centre.”

Report notes in a previous assessment found that full pedestrianisation of the High Street would require a budget of £117,800. But this could be cut if the council focuses on pedestrianising the road only on weekends.