Call made for better signs to help visitors and newcomers navigate Banbury town centre

A call has gone out for better signs in Banbury town centre to help people navigate their way to its facilities.
The coach parking area at Banbury Cross which Cllr Kilsby believes should be better signed to direct visitors to the heart of the townThe coach parking area at Banbury Cross which Cllr Kilsby believes should be better signed to direct visitors to the heart of the town
The coach parking area at Banbury Cross which Cllr Kilsby believes should be better signed to direct visitors to the heart of the town

Banbury town councillor, Steve Kilsby – who runs walking history tours of Banbury - said newcomers and those visiting the town are not helped to find the shops, Library, People’s Park or Old Town.

"The people who need decent, visible signs are those who visit the town. They don’t notice the brown ‘finger posts’ with tiny directions on because they don’t stick out – they blend in to the background,” he said.

"We don’t want big signs that are a monstrosity, but those being dropped off from their coaches at the Cross need to be given easily visible directions to the town’s facilities.

A totem pole of brown 'finger posts' which Cllr Kilsby believes are not visible enough and unhelpful to visitors to BanburyA totem pole of brown 'finger posts' which Cllr Kilsby believes are not visible enough and unhelpful to visitors to Banbury
A totem pole of brown 'finger posts' which Cllr Kilsby believes are not visible enough and unhelpful to visitors to Banbury

"And those who have gone to the Castle Quay need to have good signage to direct them to the High Street, Parsons Street, the Old Town and People’s Park.

"Traders lament the closure of shops but not enough is done to direct people to them.”

Mr Kilsby called for a return to an easy-to-read town centre map on the wall of the toilets at the Cross. There is a notice-board with a poster about the Market and a map, but he says the map is too bland and amenities are not easily identified.

His priority for signage is Horsefair although Parsons Street also needs a ‘creative solution’ to show people where it leads.

Cllr Kilsby says the current map of Banbury is not adequate to direct visitors to the shops at the heart of the townCllr Kilsby says the current map of Banbury is not adequate to direct visitors to the shops at the heart of the town
Cllr Kilsby says the current map of Banbury is not adequate to direct visitors to the shops at the heart of the town

"It’s not just visitors. Anybody new to Banbury doesn’t know where public buildings are. The Town Hall isn’t obvious and Cherwell District Council is a complete mystery. The JobCentre, now in Castle Quay, is difficult to find if you are a stranger,” he said. “Crown Buildings and the Library could be better signed.”

Mr Kilsby said he would like the town council to be proactive in making the town a welcoming place, letting visitors know what is happening, helping them discover what Banbury has to offer and populating businesses.

"We need a team of people to take this on,” he said. “It may be councillors but also town traders, BID or the Chamber of Commerce.”

A spokesperson for Cherwell District Council said: “Cherwell District Council is aware of the need to review the signage in Banbury and make substantial improvements. There is a particular need to guide people into the town centre when they arrive at the railway station.

The public toilets at Banbury Cross. Steve Kilsby believes the visitor map, once on the wall, should be replacedThe public toilets at Banbury Cross. Steve Kilsby believes the visitor map, once on the wall, should be replaced
The public toilets at Banbury Cross. Steve Kilsby believes the visitor map, once on the wall, should be replaced

"There is also a need for a new town centre map. This is a re-election pledge Banbury Business Improvement District have made. Cherwell is committed to working in partnership with all key local partners to achieve these goals to support a more vibrant town centre in the years to come.

“Cherwell will soon be starting a comprehensive consultation and engagement programme called Banbury Vision 2050 to support the long-term regeneration of the Banbury area. Signage and wayfinding are a big part of what the council wants to achieve as part of this important work.”

Banbury Town Council said: “We welcome all initiatives to improve the town and we are already pro-active in making Banbury a welcoming place.

“The council’s annual and civic events bring many thousands of people to the town more than a dozen times a year.

“The events have grown to become massive attractions with some now running over two days.”