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Plan to build on car park dismissed as ‘ridiculous’
TRADERS in Summertown are concerned about plans to build on a car park.
It comes as Oxford City Council unveils consultation into its plans for the Diamond Place car park and Ewert House offices which are earmarked for development.
The city council says the site can be turned into a “retail mixed use development”.
But businesses are worried about the loss of parking spaces.
Hugh Howe, who runs Lyster Hair Design, said: “We cannot afford to lose six parking spaces, let along all those parking spaces down there.
“Speaking as a trader who has been here for 20 years, you can’t have too much parking. We need more spaces and reasonable prices because it is strangling small businesses.”
The council has said any development has to include “sufficient” parking spaces.
But Mr Howe added: “To me sufficient is as long as a piece of string. “The council has to define what it means by sufficient.”
Priscilla Carter, owner of Unique Creations art and gift store, said: “Obviously we cannot afford to lose any car parking spaces.
“It is hard enough to park around here as it is.
“If we lose all our parking spaces where is everyone going to park? It’s ridiculous.”
Other uses for the four-acre site could be homes, student housing and employment space.
Next month a consultation event will take place to allow residents to have their say.
The secretary of Summertown and St Margaret’s neighbourhood forum, Shirley McCready, who is helping to organise it, said: “We don’t have a firm idea about what we want to see there yet and this will be an open ended discussion.
“We want all ideas on the table and to see as many people as possible turn up.”
The consultation will help draw up a supplementary planning document to restrict what can go on the site.
There have been calls for a health centre on the site after the closure of one of Summertown’s GP surgeries.
City council spokesman Eva Oliver says a health centre could be included on the site.
She said: “Oxford City Council will publish a supplementary planning document by October 2014 to help shape the future development.
“We would like residents to share their views at our consultation on September 4 from 7.30pm-9.30pm at North Oxford Association Community Centre, Diamond Place.”
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