DRIVERS fed up with missing out on a parking space at the Westgate have been told to use the park and ride instead.

Most weekends, parking at the Oxford shopping centre quickly becomes unavailable as people travel into the city centre.

Despite offering 1,000 parking spaces, the car park is soon full and drivers are urged to find elsewhere to park their vehicle.

Oxford City Council operates car parks at Gloucester Green, Oxpens and Worcester Street, with a spokesperson for the local authority telling this newspaper that the park and rides offer a way out of ‘enduring the misery of queuing for parking spaces’.

Oxford Mail: File image of the Oxpens car park. Picture: Damian HalliwellFile image of the Oxpens car park. Picture: Damian Halliwell

The spokesperson said: “The city and county councils, in partnership with ODS [Oxford Direct Services], operate five excellently located park and ride facilities served by frequent bus connections, that offer an economical way to get into and out of the city centre without having to endure the misery of queuing for parking spaces.”

The county council – responsible for on-street parking enforcement in Oxford since February 1997 – gave similar advice to drivers.

A spokesperson said: “The Westgate car park is closed when it approaches full capacity to prevent it leading to heavy queues of traffic on Thames Street, Oxpens Road, and Botley Road.

“The closure of the car park for temporary periods when queueing causes congestion has been agreed between the county council and the car park’s operators as a temporary solution in these circumstances.

“The car park is reopened when occupancy falls sufficiently or delays on the surrounding network are reduced.

“We would urge visitors to the city centre to use the bus or the park and ride sites where possible.

“There are plenty of parking spaces available at the numerous park and ride sites, eliminating the need to find one of the limited number of parking spaces which are available in the city centre.”

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The county council oversees on-street parking in Broad Street and St Giles’.

Although the Westgate did not respond to a request for comment, the shopping centre’s website advises use of the park and ride.

The website states: “Westgate has an underground car park across two floors, you can also travel using park and ride for your journey into the city centre.”

The website further encourages use of the park and rides, describing the scheme as ‘easy, great value and convenient’.

In terms of getting to the Westgate by car, the website says: “Parking is limited at Westgate, so we recommend you use park and ride for your journey into central Oxford.”

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