It may feel like congestion has been bad in Oxford since before time began, but recent weeks have seemed tougher on motorists and those working in the city.

Oxfordshire County Council has a vision for the future of the city – both to 2031 and 2050 – and the ideas are good.

Park-and-rides outside the city and easy routes for buses into the city, the opening of the Cowley Branch line and even driverless pods gliding workers into Oxford.

But it needs money and also more of a solution in the short term.

The council called it a ‘gear change’ – a change in attitude and for people to ditch their cars.

In reality it is a continued exploration of whether a workplace parking levy or a congestion charge could work in the city.

A workplace parking levy may not prove popular among businesses but many of those firms will have been frustrated over the past few weeks.

The county council will hope businesses would see the benefits to the proposed package of improvements and it is encouraging to see both universities respond positively to the survey.

But with about 1,500 firms being asked, it is unlikely the proposals will be welcomed across the board.

Nottingham’s £387 per parking space per year would hit BMW and its 1,100 spaces quite significantly, for example, and many of its workforce travel from outside the city and don’t contribute to the problem itself.

The other option being explored behind the scenes is for a congestion charge, similar to London’s, in the city centre or even wider.

Both options require those outside local or central government to stump up the cash.

A congestion charge would frustrate drivers and a WPL would either anger employees or employers, depending on how each firm decides to tackle the charge.

Initial investigations into a congestion charge found that the cost of implementing it was high and its profitability may end up being relatively low.

It could be argued, however, that a congestion charge would be more successful in achieving the aim of reducing the number of cars in the city.

But without the revenue, it looks likely to be shelved in favour of a WPL.

The Westgate Centre and its imminent opening looms as large over this issue as it does over the city itself.

Its lower parking charges are at odds with the county council and the city council’s policies.

Major employment centres are strategically set outside the city centre but with the 100-plus retail units and plethora of restaurants, the Westgate in itself will be an employment centre.

In the absence of Government money, no matter which way the council turns on this one, someone will be left paying more.