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Warn people about parks car charging
EXTRA signs may be put up warning park users about parking charges after motorists received more than £17,000 in fines.
In September last year, Oxford City Council started charging users of attractions such as Cutteslowe Park and Alexandra Court for parking.
The charges were brought in to raise cash for the authority, but residents of neighbouring streets say drivers are clogging up their neighbourhoods to avoid the parking fees.
In September, the council’s city executive board agreed to carry on with the policy after revenue of £76,604 was made from charges.
There was also £17,920 raised from fines in the first year.
But their decision was challenged, and at a meeting of the value and performance scrutiny committee last week the call for clarity was made.
Committee chairman Mark Mills, a Lib Dem councillor who called the original decision in, said: “The suggestion was, given the large amount of money that has come in from fines, people were clearly missing the fact they had to pay and it needed to be clearer.”
He said the “call-in” of the executive board’s decision had failed because Labour, the governing party, had a majority on his committee.
He said: “They argued that the issue had already been looked at by the city executive board, which is true, but we didn’t feel the monitoring of the situation had been good enough.”
The Lib Dem group has also renewed its call for one hour of free parking for dog walkers using the sites.
Group leader Jean Fooks said: “If you allowed people to park for one hour for free that would help a lot of people like dog walkers, who don’t tend to park for very long.
“The council would make the vast amount of money from people staying a lot longer.
“We want to be encouraging people to use the park.”
The free hour suggestion was rejected by city executive board member for city development Colin Cook.
But he said the call for more signs at the parks would be considered.
He said: “I think we can certainly consider it but I suspect we are already compliant with the legal requirement for signs. I also think some of these areas are quite sensitive, so you don’t want to be cluttering them up with signs.
“I also think a lot of the fines are as a result of people chancing it, and so the number of fines should go down in time.”
Harbord Road Residents’ Association secretary Suzanne McIvor said residents favoured scrapping the scheme altogether.
She said: “From our point of view the ideal situation would be to have no parking charges at all, because it does cause serious problems.”
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