8:00am Thursday 9th February 2012
Sir – Your editorial comment (February 2) bemoans, quite rightly, the cost to the public purse of repeated consultations on the East Oxford Controlled parking Zone (CPZ) and remarks that “one thing is for sure, the residents of East Oxford will not be able to claim they were not consulted”. The inference appears to be that those residents who oppose this parking scheme have behaved in a churlish and duplicitous way by rebuffing the repeated attempts of the county council to address the area’s parking and congestion problems. Let me explain why such insinuations are both misinformed and insulting.
Many residents and businesses believe that far from addressing the problems that exist, the council’s scheme will actually exacerbate them. ‘Consultation’ implies, to most people, something of a two-way process, which should provide a mechanism for working with the council to improve the proposals.
However the council have consistently failed to acknowledge, let alone respond to, the grave concerns expressed by large numbers of residents about the CPZ over the course of the repeated ‘consultations’ that they are, lest we forget, legally obliged to do.
They have had two years to improve their scheme in the light of the concerns expressed, and changes requested, by approaching two thirds of respondents last time round.
Yet the proposal before us now has not changed in any material sense from the previous one. This demonstrates where the money has been wasted, and by whom.
Do the council intend to honour councillor Rose’s recent fine words and finally listen and engage this time? It is hard to be optimistic when they intend to make their decision just one month after the consultation ends — hardly time to even consider the issues raised by their respondents, let alone make any amendments to the design.
Dominic Woodfield, Oxford
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