A spokesman for the council insisted the authority believed in democratic processes and “continually listens to feedback” while working with traders. But, despite the poll, they were going to pedestrianize the main street and keep the bus lane anyway. Mr. Savage declined to be interviewed.
Chris Davies, the town’s mayor, fears the issue has divided the community, in part because the council had “changed the meaning of the verb ‘consult'”.
Clive Washbourne, the 81-year-old former local policeman who started the campaign against the closure, is now convinced that “the council just does what it wants”.
“I saw the city die before my eyes,” he said. “But no one is listening.”
However, Christine Carter, a 76-year-old wheelchair user, thinks the streets are much easier to navigate without a car.
“Air quality has also improved,” she said. “This issue has divided the community in an unpleasant way.”
At the age of 100, John Mills cherishes his memories of when the High Street was ‘the beating heart of Thornbury’.
Speaking after collecting his groceries from Riddiford, he said: ‘It was so lively, full of bustle. Now no one comes downtown, so the community is dying.
Pointing his cane at one of the large black planters filled only with soil, he added: “Pedestrianization makes cities look shabby.”