A major High Wycombe town centre overhaul will be “unaffected” by government requests to pause the development of shared space road schemes amid fears it is dangerous and difficult to navigate for blind people.

Shared space removes features such as kerbs, road surface markings, traffic signs, and traffic lights and hopes to make drivers take more care when driving as a result. Many of these shared space aspects have been introduced into High Wycombe as part of the county council’s town centre masterplan.

But the schemes have been criticised by Nusrat Ghani, transport minister, who said they “just don’t work” for partially-sighted and blind pedestrians.

The government has now told councils to halt schemes that are being designed or considered while the safety of them is reviewed.

It has thrown up questions about the future of the masterplan, which has seen a number of key town centre roads, including Queen Alexandra Road and Desborough Road, replaced with a new design as part of the creation of an “alternative route”.

The town centre improvement scheme has been criticised by members of the public for being “ridiculous” and “dangerous” – and even councillors have warned the project is an “unmitigated disaster in terms of road safety”.

Despite the similarities to a shared space scheme, Bucks County Council has insisted the alternative route is safe for pedestrians, is not designed as shared space and is therefore not affected by the temporary ban.

County council deputy leader and cabinet member for transportation, Mark Shaw, said: “As far as Buckinghamshire is concerned, we have no evidence that these types of space have created any problems in the county. We await the outcome of the DfT research with interest.

“In terms of the Alternative Route and Queen Victoria Road and Easton Street schemes, these are not designed as shared space and each of the schemes which form part of town centre masterplan have been subject to independent road safety audits during their design phase.

He added: “The roadworks currently underway in the town centre are unaffected by the DfT’s request and will continue as planned.”