St Clement’s traders cheer as car park reopens at last

Traders say they are relieved the St Clement’s car park work has been completed

Traders say they are relieved the St Clement’s car park work has been completed

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Oxford Times Chief Reporter. Call me on 01865 425434

TRADERS have welcomed the reopening of St Clement’s car park after work to build student flats over it was completed.

Most of the 120 spaces were lost when construction began on the controversial Alice House, near Magdalen Bridge, for 140 students in April last year.

The Oxford City Council car park has now reopened with 80 spaces and parking will be free until Friday when higher charges are introduced.

The council has confirmed an extra 10p will come into force on top of each charge apart from the rate from 8pm to 8am, to rise from £1 to £1.30.

A temporary 70-space car park in Marston Road with a free bus service will close on Monday.

The council received 500 comments against the scheme, for flats on stilts above the car park.

Bar and restaurant owner Clinton Pugh said: “It is fantastic that the council is offering free car parking if only for a short period of time.

“But it would be nice if they put up signs to let people know the car park actually exists.

“It would have been much better to have had an underground car park, although that would have been much more expensive.”

One of his three businesses, Cafe Coco, lost £40,000, leading him to cut its opening times.

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He said: “We have survived. But a lot have struggled and lost money. Some have gone out of business.”

Patrick Clacy, owner of bed shop And So To Bed, said: “It is going to take a while to get back where we were.

“When there were 120 spaces it was always pretty full but now there are only 80 spaces.”

Alice House, named after Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, has been bought by the Student Housing Company and will let students “live luxuriously” from £220 a week from September.

Sietske Boeles, of the East Oxford Residents’ Associations Forum, said: “We preferred a much-needed smaller scale affordable housing development over ‘rich kid student housing’.

“We are still shocked by annual rental prices of £10,000 for these small self-contained units, increasing a widespread fear that this project will turn out to be a white elephant.”

She said firms had been struggling to keep their heads above water during the construction work, and called for a “goodwill” cut in parking charges.

A total 40 OAPs in nearby Anchor Court retirement home organised a petition against the development claiming their rooms would lose sunlight.

Student Housing Company spokeswoman Rebecca Midgley said: “Many of the spaces in the car park were difficult to get to.

“These have been replaced by 80 spaces which are fully compliant with the latest industry standards.”

City council spokesman Christopher Lee said: “There are plans for new signage. Since the car park reopened, it has been well used.”

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Comments (2)

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9:36am Sat 2 Aug 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

*Gasps at the gall!*

"Goodwill cut in parking charges" - from the organisation that has campaigned vigorously to remove free parking for commuters and visitors throughout East Oxford - including the Divine area!

Besides

Why is dear Sietske so terrified of "white elephants"? Every single time she or one of her many, many groups or cohorts defines an undertaking as a "white elephant" - it becomes an immediate success!

Personally, I have never "feared" anything based on its colour.
*Gasps at the gall!* "Goodwill cut in parking charges" - from the organisation that has campaigned vigorously to remove free parking for commuters and visitors throughout East Oxford - including the Divine area! Besides Why is dear Sietske so terrified of "white elephants"? Every single time she or one of her many, many groups or cohorts defines an undertaking as a "white elephant" - it becomes an immediate success! Personally, I have never "feared" anything based on its colour. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 1

1:29am Sun 3 Aug 14

The New Private Eye says...

Standard studio Superb, spacious studios which include: small double bed with under-bed storage, 20mb (Free upgrade to 30MB internet with WI-FI from September 2014) internet, task chair and desk, large wardrobe and ensuite deluxe shower room. Every studio includes a stylish kitchenette complete with combi oven, hob and fridge-freezer. Worrying about watching your favourite programmes on a small laptop screen for the next year? We wouldn’t do that to you, instead you’ll just have to make do with a personal Smart TV in your very own studio. All Bills Included
That’s water, electricity and gas. Room Size 18sq Metres Contract length. Rooms all sold out.

So no white elphant then. Quite the opposite.
Standard studio Superb, spacious studios which include: small double bed with under-bed storage, 20mb (Free upgrade to 30MB internet with WI-FI from September 2014) internet, task chair and desk, large wardrobe and ensuite deluxe shower room. Every studio includes a stylish kitchenette complete with combi oven, hob and fridge-freezer. Worrying about watching your favourite programmes on a small laptop screen for the next year? We wouldn’t do that to you, instead you’ll just have to make do with a personal Smart TV in your very own studio. All Bills Included That’s water, electricity and gas. Room Size 18sq Metres Contract length. Rooms all sold out. So no white elphant then. Quite the opposite. The New Private Eye
  • Score: 2

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