NEWTS have woken up from hibernation allowing a £44,000 car parking scheme to start at Oxford’s Wood Farm estate.
Work to bring nine new spaces to Masons Road was due to begin yesterday and is expected to finish early next month.
The spaces will be created on the verge opposite numbers 69 to 103 and the work is part of Oxford City Council’s Great Estates project, which aims to improve communal areas in the city’s estates.
It comes after 16 extra spaces were created in Chillingworth Crescent in Wood Farm in April at a cost of £135,000.
Council spokeswoman Louisa Dean said: “We have had to take into consideration an adjacent great-crested newt habitat and we are working within a timeslot which is past their hibernation and will not interrupt their breeding.
“The scheme will see newt-friendly shrubs being planted.”
Susan Brown, city council member for the Churchill ward, said the estate was in need of more parking spaces, especially next to flats.
She said: “I hope it will go some way to easing some of the severe parking problems we have in Masons Road.”
And the Labour councillor, who was re-elected last month, said she was glad the works could go ahead now the newts were no longer under threat.
She said: “It is obviously important we pay full attention to our duties in terms of conservation and preserving wildlife but it has been a little frustrating how long it has taken.”
Liz Brighouse, Oxfordshire County Council member for Wood Farm, welcomed the work and also said buses had been unable to serve the road as it was often too blocked up with parked cars.
She said: “Everywhere there are flats in Wood Farm there are massive problems with parking.”
The Labour councillor said when the flats were first built very few residents had cars but now each flat came with two or three cars.
She also said Leiden Road had similar problems.
The Great Estates project has a budget of £450,000 this financial year and the latest scheme comes as work to protect grass verges from parking in Burchester Avenue, Barton was completed last week.
Other work is planned for Fox Crescent, Chatham Road, and Pegasus Road in Blackbird Leys, the Croft Road area of Marston and also in Barton.
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