THE city council has forecast it will take 26 years to pay off a project to move car park decking from Oxpens Road to Redbridge Park and Ride.

The council’s executive board gave the go-ahead to move the decking from Oxpens Road at a meeting on Tuesday. It was first put up to replace the former Westgate Centre car park, which closed in January 2015.

The decking was always meant to be temporary but has stayed open since the renovated Westgate was opened in October 2017. It now needs be moved before the end of June ahead of redevelopment of the Oxpens site.

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Redbridge Park and Ride, off Abingdon Road in the south of the city, faces losing spaces because of the Environment Agency-led Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme, councillors were told.

A ‘significant section’ of the car park there will be used as a ‘base’ for engineers to build conduits under the Oxford Ring Road, opposite the park and ride site.

The council said about 450 of the 1,400 parking spaces at Redbridge will be lost for about two-and-a-half years, with 50 of those lost permanently.

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But the council said it wanted to use the decking – at a cost of £737,000 – to increase the number of spaces there by 100. That would mean it would only stand to lose about 330 spaces.

The EA’s compound is expected to cost the council about £150,000 a year, if the park and ride is used at 70 per cent of its capacity.

The authority said although the lengthy payback period was ‘important’, it was not the only thing to consider.

The report added: “The deck will provide other non-financial benefits to the council, including the ability to effectively manage the transport network and ensuring people are able to access the city, thus supporting the economy.”

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The council reports there are currently ‘no plans’ to increase park and ride charges – but that if it hiked all of them by 50p, the payback period on the decking would be cut by about six years.

Currently motorists parking for between an hour and 11 hours pay £2; £4 for between 11 hours and 24 hours; £8 for between 48 hours and 72 hours, and £12 for between 48 hours and 72 hours.

Parking and a day return bus ticket for two adults and up to three children costs £6.80.

Earlier this month, the city council admitted its plan to extend Seacourt Park and Ride, off Botley Road, is now only expected to be completed in 2020.

Planning permission was secured in January 2018 to extend the car park from 794 spaces to about 1,500.

But work on the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme has been given as a reason the work cannot proceed at the city council’s park and ride.