WORKERS in Witney say they are finding it difficult to find a suitable place to park due to changes in time regulations.

They say there are not enough long-stay parking spaces for people who drive to the town for their job.

It comes after West Oxfordshire District Council re-allocated spaces between the Woolgate and Marriotts Walk car parks in October last year to create more space for shoppers.

Some long-stay spaces can now only be occupied for a maximum of three hours.

Commercial team leader Louise Eaton, who works in the town, said it was “impossible” for anyone who wants to park at peak times to find a space.

She said: “The biggest problem that we’re finding is the mums who drop their children off at school are really struggling to get a space after 9am. For the people who get in just before 9am, they have to drive round for ages.

“It used to be easy, because we had the long-stay parking at Woolgate and Woodford Way.

“It’s not sufficient parking now and it can make people late. On the other hand, we’re very lucky because our parking is free.”

Retired chartered accountant Peter Hellawell, 61, said: “There are long-stay parking spaces in the multi-storey car park but that gets full very quickly.

“Anyone who gets in at 9am or later has a lot of difficulty in getting any long-stay space at all. For people who work in Witney, it becomes a bit of a nightmare.

“The people who work in Witney struggle to find somewhere to park for the day and yet there is ample space where they used to park.”

Accountancy firm The M Group’s office manager Tricia Hughes said workers had previously been able to park by the office but now had to leave their cars further away.

She said: “There are not always spaces, especially if you come in after 9am when you are searching for a while. We haven’t had too much of a problem so far but when there are more visitors in the summer people could be stuck to park.

“They’ve made the top two floors of the multi-storey car park long-stay but if we have a really harsh winter those floors can freeze up and it could be closed.”

The council said there are the same number of long-stay spaces in the town as there were before, but that the re-allocation of parking meant that some had been moved.

Cabinet member for the environment, David Harvey, said: “The re-allocation of spaces has increased space availability for shoppers at this car park, which combined with the council’s continued free parking policy, helps the local economy and is a move backed by retailers.

“Even over the extremely busy Christmas period, free spaces were available.”

District council spokeswoman Carys Davies said there remained 408 long-stay spaces in the town and there had been no changes to the 12-hour free parking at Woodford Way car park.