When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Residents fear drivers will choke their roads
DRIVERS face charges at Oxford’s county council-run park and rides.
Commuters using Thornhill and Water Eaton park-and- rides will be charged up to £9 to park for three days under the proposals.
The county council wants to introduce charges of £3 per day for motorists who park for more than 11 hours at the two sites.
If introduced, the charges will hit commuters who use the parking at Thornhill to catch the Oxford Tube and X90 bus services to London.
The proposals have also prompted concerns that drivers will park in the surrounding residential streets to avoid paying.
Retired carpenter David Ward, 73, of Merewood Avenue, Sandhills, said the streets near his home were already used by motorists who struggled to find space at Thornhill or those who want to leave their car for longer than the maximum 72-hour period.
He said: “At the end of the day if I had to pay to park somewhere, but I knew I could park for free somewhere else, that’s what I would do.”
Oxford City Council took back control of park-and-ride services at Peartree, Redbridge and Seacourt from the county last autumn and now charges £1.50 for a day’s parking.
Thornhill and Water Eaton are still controlled by the county council, and if the changes are approved, anyone parking for more than 11 hours will pay £3 up to 24 hours and £3 for each 24-hour period after that up to three days.
Oxfordshire County Council ’s deputy leader and transport cabinet member Rodney Rose said: “We want to safeguard the future of the county council’s park-and-ride sites and this is something we have committed to doing for some time now.
“We’ve looked into this in some detail and think the 11-hour limit on free parking is about right, allowing for a normal working day with a fair bit of leeway either side. We obviously have to set the bar somewhere but we want to hear people’s views on this as well as the other proposals.”
The changes will cost £200,000 to implement, including the cost of payment machines, and the council expects to make £150,000 in revenue a year from the charges, which will be put back into running park-and- ride schemes.
Under the proposals, drivers’ number plates will be scanned with an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system and they will be able to pay by phone or in person.
And work to build an extra 500 spaces to the existing 855 at Thornhill is set to start after grass snakes on neighbouring land are moved in October.
Heidi Young, who lives off Abingdon Road, said cars would overspill into surrounding areas as residents said they did when city council sites introduced charges last year.
She said: “We live near the Redbridge park-and-ride and they made that paid-for and that caused a nightmare, and I imagine that’s what will happen here.”
A consultation period will last until September 14, and if approved, the changes will come into effect in November.
The council has said rules may be relaxed for NHS employees, but this will be the subject of negotiation.
To have your say visit oxfordshire.gov.uk
2008: Charges at city council-owned park-and-ride sites of £1 a day are scrapped.
December 2009: Plans for an additional 500 spaces at Thornhill are announced.
May 2011: Hybrid buses are introduced on all park-and-ride routes.
August 2011: Oxfordshire County Council announces deal to hand back control of Peartree, Seacourt and Redbridge park-and-ride schemes to Oxford City Council.
October 2011: Parking charges of £1.50 per day are introduced at the three city council-controlled car parks.
Proposed charges at Water Eaton and Thornhill (county council controlled).
Up to 11 hours: Free
11-24 hours: £3
24-48 hours: £6
48-72 hours: £9
Disabled badge holders, motorcycles, bikes: Free
Penalties/staying more than 72 hours: £100
Current charges at Peartree, Seacourt and Redbridge (city council controlled).
One day: £1.50
Seven days: £7.50