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Shop boss ‘fury’ at parking limits
AS builders prepare to start a controversial scheme at St Clement’s car park, Oxford City Council has introduced parking restrictions to allow work to begin.
Years of wrangling came to an end in September when the council gave developer Watkin Jones planning permission to build a four-block, 140-room student housing development above the 120-space car park.
Traders in East Oxford objected because of the impact the loss of parking would have on their business.
Now their fears have become reality after the council introduced the temporary parking arrangements.
Josh Knight, who runs fairtrade clothing shop Indigo in Cowley Road, said: “I am still furious about the whole thing.
“Having a phased approach is a slight improvement because it means half the car park will remain open.
“But we really depend on people coming into our area so I am pretty certain it will affect our trade and that of other businesses in the area.”
City council spokesman Louisa Dean said work was not expected to start for at least another month. She said: “The temporary parking arrangements are not yet finished, although they are well on their way. The city council is waiting for final confirmation of the start dates for the redevelopment, which will be phased to ensure that some car parking will be available at the St Clement’s car park site. “The council has agreed with the developers that they will further engage with local stakeholders to agree a marketing campaign to promote the free bus service from the temporary car park and to raise the profile of the area.” The development was approved only after a phased approach to the building work was agreed so the car park would stay open during construction.
While work is carried out at St Clement’s the council will provide replacement temporary car parking spaces at Harcourt House on Marston Road, with a free bus service.
There will be three phases of work, with up to 28 parking spaces available in the first 12-week phase, 50 in the second 19-week phase, and up to 33 in the final phase, also 19 weeks.
After this, construction will switch to the interior of the building for the final 19 weeks and the permanent 80-space car park will be in place, but there will only be 50 spaces available. Access to the car park will vary between St Clement’s and Caroline Street.
Plans to build student rooms on the site were originally put forward by Watkin Jones in 2009 when the company was given a 150-year lease, and proposed building 120 flats on stilts. These plans were revised and then deferred by the city council, but another plan for 141 student bedrooms was put forward in 2011 and turned down.
Last year the plans for 140 student flats were put forward and approved. The new parking arrangements came into force on Thursday.
Watkin Jones declined to comment.