OXFORDSHIRE County Council will decide next week whether to go ahead with plans for a new park-and-ride.

The authority wants to build a 580-space car park outside Bicester to help tackle congestion coming into the town.

And on Monday its planning and regulation committee will decide whether the facility off Vendee Drive by the A41 can go ahead.

Martin Tugwell, the council’s deputy director of strategy and infrastructure planning, has urged the committee to approve the scheme.

Busy periods like the Christmas sales often see roads around shopping centre Bicester Village gridlocked by traffic.

It is hoped the facility will be able to act as a park-and-ride both for people going into Oxford and into Bicester.

James Porter, the leader of Bicester Town Council, said: “The park-and-ride will hopefully alleviate some of the long-standing congestion problems we have had around Bicester.

“It will be helpful but needs to be seen as part of a longer strategy in dealing with traffic.”

Miranda Markham, community relations director at Bicester Village, said: “We are pleased that this application is going forward.

“The park-and-ride will be available for Bicester Village customers on weekends and bank holidays to relieve road congestion and is part of a multi-million-pound package of investments including new lanes, roundabouts and traffic systems which will support a transformational change in the road infrastructure around Bicester and encourage positive economic growth.”

The scheme is part of £11m plans to combat congestion on the A41 and Oxford Road at the junction for Bicester Village.

These includes new junctions, extra lanes and a ‘hamburger’ roundabout on the A41.

Parking at the car park would be free, though free long-stay parking at the county council’s Thornhill and Water Eaton park and rides was scrapped in April before short-stay fees were introduced in November.

Last year, Oxford’s park-and-ride system, the first in the country, celebrated its 40th birthday.

In a report on the plans, Mr Tugwell said: “The proposed development would provide a new interchange facility which would make it easier for people to use public transport for part of their journey to Bicester or Oxford.”

A decision on whether the park-and-ride should go ahead will be made at a meeting on Monday at County Hall in New Road, Oxford, at 2pm. Members of the public can attend.