WORK to add 500 parking spaces to the Thornhill park-and-ride site will start in the new year, it has been announced.

Oxfordshire County Council confirmed work to expand the busy facility near Headington will start in January.

The £3.6m project will take about eight months, with extra spaces due to be available from the spring.

The centre is one of the most popular in Oxford, and is often full before 9am. Buses from Thornhill travel to Oxford, London and Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Council deputy leader and transport cabinet member Rodney Rose said: “The Thornhill park-and-ride extension is something we have been planning for some time and I’m very much looking forward to seeing work get started. “The improvements will provide a first-class interchange for access to the city, facilitating economic development and supporting employment in the process.

“While there is strong demand at all five park-and-ride sites, Thornhill experiences the greatest pressure, with the car park often filling up to capacity in a short space of time.

“Creating more space to meet that demand will provide a transport solution for many more commuters, shoppers and visitors, helping reduce congestion into the city centre at the same time.”

Transport chiefs are also planning a change in layout, including an improved exit, better short-stay parking and relocation of cycle parking.