Voters have rejected Bradford on Avon's proposed Historic Core Zone by 1,669 votes to 1,315, seven years after plans were drawn up.

Only 40 per cent of the town turned out to last night and there was a majority of 1669 votes against the pedestrian-friendly scheme compared to 1315 in favour.

Mayor John Potter said: “I am disappointed that it was voted no and it would have been a great opportunity for money to be spent on the town.

“It’s been a while since any amount of money like this was spent and sadly that is the way it will stay despite the state of the roads being shocking.”

Residents were queuing up at polling stations when they opened at 4pm yesterday and many were divided in opinion.

Christine Edmonds of Kingston Mill voted no because she believes the plans do not cater for the elderly or the disabled.

She said: “I really do not like the idea and because of my disability, I have to look at the safety aspect for pedestrians which I don’t think it caters for. I even wrote no way under the no box.”

However resident, David Maude, said that any concerns of the plans had been addressed at public meetings and the exhibition.

He said: “I think there are many arguments against the plans but I think people do not understand what the scheme is aiming to do.”

Owner of the Alex J Brown hardware shop, James Vincent has displayed his Bradfordian heritage in the front window of his shop to encourage people to vote no.

He said: “The main concerns of my customers is the removal of the zebra crossings. If I take my glasses off I can see the black and white stripes on the road which I know is a safe place to cross.”

One voter who did not wish to be named voted in favour of the plans despite opposing views from friends and neighbours.

She said: “I know people have the scheme in other places and I think, having lived in Bradford since 1980, that many people are too worried about change to the town.”

Throughout the polling station times, local businessman Edward Rooth was walking around the town with a yes sandwich board hoping to sway voters.

He said: “This provides a good opportunity for the town and it will deal with a lot of problems at the same time.”

Despite the expected road closures that the scheme would bring, businesses backed the idea of the HCZ last week which would have seen Wiltshire Council spend £2.5m.

The town poll cost Wiltshire Council £6,500 to carry out.