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Residents fear car 'invasion' if park-and-ride charges rise
PEOPLE living next to a park-and-ride site fear more commuters will park in their streets if new short-term parking charges are introduced.
Sandhills residents say parking problems will return if County Hall decides to push forward with plans to charge £2 for parking for up to 11 hours at Thornhill Park-and-Ride.
It comes after 500 extra spaces were opened last month in a £3.6m refurbishment of the A40 London Road site.
The new charging plans could be signed off by the council’s cabinet tomorrow and, if passed, could be in force in November.
Barton Community Association secretary Sue Holden, who lives in Delbush Avenue, said fewer drivers had used the estate streets since the car park was increased from 855 to 1,355 last month.
But she said: “It has not been as bad as it used to be but once they bring the charge to £2, that will bring the problem back to the side roads.
“Then the extension will mean nothing to us residents as we will be back in the same situation as before.”
Paula Roberts, of Sweet Green Close, said she was also concerned about the effect of the charges.
She said: “People are going to be looking for alternatives and it is, at the moment, a free-for-all in the roads in Sandhills.”
Merewood Avenue resident David Ward, 74, said parking problems had not improved since the extra spaces were opened last month, adding: “It will always be a problem.”
Oxfordshire County Council announced in July it wanted to begin charging motorists for parking up to 11 hours at the site. It is currently free. Long-term fees could also increase by 33.3 per cent tomorrow.
Van Coulter, the Oxford city councillor for Barton and Sandhills, has been asking residents to fill out a survey on the estate’s parking problems.
The Labour member said the Oxford Tube service from Thornhill made the estate a “convenient” parking place, adding: “This leaves some people who have high commuting costs looking to save a few quid by going to the local estates.
“It doesn’t just happen in Sandhills.
“It’s just Sandhills is very convenient to the park-and-ride where all the London coaches call in.”
But he said he would not want to see controlled parking zones introduced if it meant that residents were made to pay.
Another Merewood Avenue resident, who asked not to be named, said something needed to be done before the potential charges came in.
She said: “It is something that the council will have to think about because we don’t really want people coming over from the park-and-ride.
“Why should we suffer because of the park-and -ride?”