When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Back to the future bid for canal basin
A CITY centre car park serving almost 200 motorists could be shut and turned into a restored canal basin under long-term plans.
The scheme at Oxford’s Worcester Street car park – which has 182 spaces out of 2,273 in the city centre – would see the site turned back into a mooring point for barges.
Until 1937 the site was used as a wharf for the Oxford Canal, but was sold to Oxford car magnate Lord Nuffield.
Oxford City Council leases the site from Nuffield College, which says it wants to keep the car park.
But the Canal and River Trust, which was established last year to look after the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales, said it has carried out investigatory work into redeveloping the 182-place car park.
Trust enterprise manager James Clifton said: “We would love to see a basin included in a comprehensive redevelopment.
“It wouldn’t be cheap but we have already carried out a certain amount of technical investigatory work and talked to both councils about it. This is a very long-term project and it would have to be seen as part of a comprehensive redevelopment.
“But it is very do-able.”
There have been a number of attempts to restore Oxford’s lost canal basin, and in 2002 plans were put forward for a redevelopment which included a concert hall.
The city council said the idea was included as a preferred option in the 2008 planning brief for the redevelopment of the area, known as the West End Area Action Plan. The plan says: “Applications to implement this preferred option will be encouraged unless it is shown to be not practicable or economically viable.”
Graham Jones, of traders’ group ROX, said: “We have got to make better use of that site.
“It is a bit of an unsightly void in the city centre.”
But he added: “The loss of car parking cannot happen – there has got to be replacement parking if it goes ahead.”
Nuffield College spokesman Claire Bunce said the college had no plans for the site “other than the continuation of car parking”.
The county council did not comment.
Comments are closed on this article.