RESIDENTS in Melksham are being urged to give their views on a proposal to temporarily close the High Street to traffic.

Local councillor Tony Watts is seeking views on his proposals to reduce traffic through the town centre to improve air quality in that area.

He says that Melksham should follow in Chippenham’s footsteps and allow only buses, taxis, bicycles and emergency services vehicles through.

Cllr Watts’ proposal follows concerns from Brian Warwick, chair of Melksham Seniors Forum, about air pollution in the Market Place area.

Cllr Watts said: “Air quality in our towns and cities is a major health issue, and we should all be concerned about vehicle pollution.

“But whilst trees and shrubs/hedges can help combat Co2, such planting will do little to reduce nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, diesel particulates and other pollutants emitted from cars and trucks.

“The solution to this pollution is to reduce the volume of traffic coming through the central part of Melksham.

“This has been achieved successfully in Chippenham, where their High Street is closed during the day.

“Perhaps the same type of arrangement would work in Melksham, closing our High Street between Lowbourne and Church Street from, say, 9am to 5pm, but allowing buses, taxis and bikes.

“This would create a far more pedestrian-friendly and less polluted town centre.

“Of course this needs to be thought through very carefully, for example maintaining access to businesses including those in Strattons Walk/Paulsom’s Yard.”

Cllr Watts is asking residents to complete a short survey at which will be open for two months.

Based on the responses he receives, he will then decide whether to lobby Melksham Town Council for change.