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Parking fees 'are no deterrent' to visitors
PARKING fees at five city parks have not deterred visitors and will actually make more cash than expected.
A year after the fees were introduced, Oxford City Council is expecting £86,842 in the 12 months to April, £16,411 more than expected.
And it said it has “not identified any reduction in usage”.
Charges were introduced at Cutteslowe, Walton Well Road, Hinksey Park and Alexandra Court in a bid to deter commuters.
Drivers pay 50p up to the first hour; £1 for one to three hours; £2 for three to five hours and £10 for five to 24 hours.
Nearly 52,000 tickets were purchased from September to June.
But the council said machines had been vandalised, with five incidents since April costing up to £700 in repairs.
No cash was taken but the council said the machines isolated locations made more attacks “highly probable”. The council said it was looking at ways to enhance security.
A report on the new parking fees said: “The introduction does not appear to have had any detrimental affect on park usage.”
The move had been successful at freeing up spaces at Summertown’s Alexandra Court in particular, it said.
Parents of youngsters in the Summertown Stars football side, who use the park, were offered a £20 parking season ticket.
Vice chairman Roger Parry said £1 for up to three hours is the “right tariff” for parents but said more were parking in streets to avoid fees.
He said: “We have been reasonably relaxed about it.”
But he added: “If you are shopping in Oxford you are going to spend money so if you park your car that is reasonable, you should pay. It is an economic activity – going to a park is not an economic activity.”
Oxfordshire County Council is looking at banning parking in Harbord Road, Cutteslowe, from 9am to 5pm following an influx of cars.
But nearby Talbot Road resident Suzanne McIvor warned: “Cars are just going to park in other side roads.
“It has caused serious problems in this area and the county council is having to spend money to sort it out.”
City council executive member for city development Colin Cook said charges were a “disincentive” for some but not the majority.
He said most users did not need to drive to parks.
Less cash support from the Government had led to the fees, the Labour member said.
He said: “Many services that we want to provide for free we will have to start charging for.”