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Banbury station 707-space car park plan 'should be refused'
A MULTI-STOREY car park plan for Banbury train station should be thrown out because of the impact on traffic and neighbours, council officers have urged.
Chiltern Railways has said the 707-space, three-storey building is vital to meet rising demand with the pending loss of other car parks.
But a Cherwell District Council planning officer has recommended planning committee members reject the scheme at a meeting this week.
The pay-and-display facility would go on land next to the Royal Mail sorting office and Chiltern’s control centre off Higham Way and be linked by a new bridge to the station, for car park users only.
Chiltern said passenger demand for Banbury grew by 100 per cent from 2003 to 2011 and spaces grew from 254 in 2005 to 631 now.
And it warned leases on 315 spaces at Tramway Industrial Estate will expire in October while 54 off Station Approach run out in August.
But planning officer Simon Dean said while there is a “clear need” for more parking the plan would have an unacceptable traffic impact.
The car park would also have an “unacceptable level of over-dominance” on neighbouring flats along Marshall Road, he said.
The impact on junctions of Cherwell Street, Bridge Street, Merton Street, Middleton Road and Waterloo Drive was raised as a concern by Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority.
The county said not enough information had been given by the operator on how many extra journeys the car park would generate.
Some 44 letters opposed the plan along with a petition of 124 signatures with concerns about the “over-dominance” of the building, loss of light and extra traffic. Marshall Road resident Matthew Gilkes told the council: “It is very difficult to see how the surrounding road infrastructure of Marshall Road, Middleton Road and Merton Street will cope with the increased vehicle volume.”
Fellow Marshall Road resident Sam Hilton said: “The proposal is far too close to Marshall Road, affecting all residents and downgrading the area. “Traffic in this area is already very, very busy.”
Banbury Town Council told the district council: “This site is not suitable for a car park of this size.”
Chiltern offered £100,000 for transport work like traffic calming but Mr Dean said it was not clear if this would be adequate.
The council has suggested the top deck be removed but Chiltern said a Government £10.4m grant demands it be used for 707 spaces.
Cherwell Rail Users Group chairman Chris Bates said commuter parking facilities can “just about cope” but was confident more temporary permissions can be found.
He said: “The application was too large and in the wrong place. It is being opposed for all the right reasons.”
Chiltern spokesman Emma Gascoigne said: “We believe our proposal is the right answer for Banbury but will obviously review our position if the committee does not agree”.