A HIGH Street should be totally overhauled and pavements widened to allow the return of a town’s market, a councillor has said.

Wickford Town Council Lib Dem Stuart Mott has called for a “reconfiguration” of Wickford High Street to allow the market to return after it was moved to Woodlands Road following an long-running dispute with bus companies.

The Saturday market previously operated from the High Street but was forced to move after bus companies raised concerns about the impact on bus routes.

Now the market has been given a five-year lease to operate from the nearby Woodlands Road however many have called for it to be allowed to return to its High Street home.

Mr Mott however believes wider pavements and a one-way system could resolve the issue.

He said: “It’s been a difficult period for the market and the traders with the relocation to the former market site. I’m pleased that the town council is going to invest time and money into the market to try and reinvigorate its fortunes.

“Longer term I’d like to see a reconfiguration of the High Street between London Road and Market Road to allow the market to return to the High Street.

“I personally think we should be making the High Street one way, we should be expanding the pavements and adding more short-term parking, but that decision ultimately comes down to the Essex County Council and decisions with the bus companies.”

Mr Mott added that although bus companies objected to the market being in the High Street, as it creates a partial road closure, routes should be reviewed and re-routed to support the community.

He added: “A number of bus routes are subsidised and when it comes up for review, it would be easy to re-route them not to go down the High Street or to force the companies to support the communities they serve. This would prohibit a blanket approach of objecting to road closures, as one bus company did in this instance.”

Following the confirmation of the lease and Wickford Town Council being given ownership of the market, a spokesman said: “We will do our utmost to seemingly transform the market into one that people from other towns as well as Wickford will want to visit. If obstacles can be overcome, we would hope that in due course the market will be able to return to the High Street.”