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Traders criticise council over St Clement's development plans
TRADERS have reacted angrily to the news that Oxford City Council refused to carry out an economic impact assessment on plans to build on part of St Clement’s car park.
Dick Wolff told a communities and partnership scrutiny committee meeting this week an assessment was vital to find out what effect cutting the number of parking spaces would have on independent traders.
The council is set to net about £5m from selling land to build student accommodation on part of the St Clement’s car park, cutting parking spaces from 120 to 80.
Mr Wolff told the scrutiny committee meeting on Monday that the area was “a jewel” in Oxford’s crown.
But advising against carrying out the economic impact assessment, the council’s head of corporate property Steve Sprayson, said: “What we are trying to do is present the land in the most favourable light.”
The committee instead pledged to set up an unspecified programme of work to see how independent businesses across the city could be supported.
Alan Grovesnor, of A-Spires Audio Visual, based in St Clement’s, said: “I think there’s an arrogant attitude and a lack of respect towards the business community in Oxford.”
Restaurant owner Clinton Pugh said: “It’s absolutely disgusting, they obviously don’t care about the local business community – we are suffering hugely and there isn’t an adequate replacement car park.
“What would it have cost them to have done it?
“This is so destructive to the community.
“I wouldn’t be jumping up and down getting upset over nothing – I’ve got better things to do.”
The original plans for the development were refused, but a revised scheme has now been submitted.
Graham Jones, of business forum ROX, added: “I think the city council is in a very, very difficult position – it is the owner and the planning authority.
“I think they felt intimidated by the fact that there’s already a planning application in on this.”