OXFORD’S ice hockey team and ice rink users have been reassured there will be places for them to park, despite the loss of hundreds of spaces at Oxpens.

Oxford City Council has made the pledge after closing 106 spaces in the decked area of the car park on Monday this week.

The closure results from the expiry of temporary planning permission for the decking and an extension, which was granted during the construction of the Westgate Centre, which opened in October 2017.

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From Monday, a further 135 spaces on matting will be removed, leaving just 179 spaces available at the car park where there were 420 spaces a week ago.

The original surface-level car park will continue to operate, before being permanently closed next year as part of a multi-million pound redevelopment of the area by the city council in partnership with Nuffield College.

The council previously estimated that the remaining 179 spaces would remain open for ‘the next few months’ but has now given a more specific estimate, saying they will stay until autumn 2020.

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Alex Hollingsworth, executive board member for planning and transport, said: “We have long supported Oxford City Stars and other ice rink users, and will continue to do so, including providing team parking for the ice rink as well as parking permits for the team.

"The decking and extension at Oxpens were only ever temporary. The rest of the car park will still be available until at least autumn 2020.”

Oxford City Stars owner Scott Gough praised the authority and ice rink operators Fusion for their management of the car park.


He said: “The council and Fusion have been so helpful to the new-look Stars this season with reduced parking fees, player parking and coaching passes and have gone above and beyond with the branding outside and inside the rink and can’t thank all concerned enough.

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"With the planning permission running out it’s something that’s outside our control and understand with the new regeneration of the area this is a must to allow this to move forward.

“We are speaking to a local college and a local business to try to help with parking as we have seen a big growth in game-day attendances due to the success of the club and we do hope all our loyal fans can still make it to the games as there is still a decent allocation of spaces at Oxpens.

"The rink and Fusion are updating us as and when more information is available and we will continue to look at parking alternatives.”

Oxford City Stars was formed in 1984 and is one of the county’s leading sports clubs with average attendance of about 500 for games.