PLANS to almost double the size of a Park and Ride site have been given the go-ahead.

Thornhill Park and Ride, off the A40 at Sandhills – popular with commuters, shoppers and tourists travelling to and from London – may be increased by 506 spaces.

But expansion will only go ahead if Oxfordshire County Council can find the £3m to fund it. Staff are currently exploring ways of finding the cash.

The planned expansion has been received with relief by householders, who have complain that their roads are being used as an overflow car park when the site, which is also served by buses to Heathrow and Gatwick airports, is full.

Sue Holden, from Delbush Avenue, said: “With a bit of luck, this will ease the parking problems we are facing here on a daily basis.”

She said residents were faced with roads full of parked cars with motorists often blocking driveways and using grass verges.

Oxfordshire County Council approved proposals to add to the 850-space car park to the west, further down London Road towards the ring road.

But Mrs Holden said the extension may not solve the problems.

She said: “One of the biggest problems we have is people parking here long term, while they go on holiday.

“You are only allowed to park in the park & ride site for 72 hours, so many people park in the street and catch the bus to the airport.”

She added: “The other week, someone parked so close to our driveway for four weeks, it was difficult to get out.

“So while it is great that the car park will be extended, I’m not sure it will solve the problem.”

Van Coulter, city councillor for Sandhills and Barton, has been going door-to-door around Sandhills asking people what they think, and has formulated a number of possible solutions.

He said: “In the next few weeks, I plan to produce a questionnaire asking people to rate which of the solutions they prefer.”

“This is a long lasting problem and unless it gets to a point that people are so annoyed about it, they are willing to compromise, it won’t be solved.”

Practical solutions include a residents’ parking scheme, painting yellow lines on roads, or waiting to see the impact of the planned expansion to Thornhill.

The final option would be to do nothing, and simply try to accommodate cars.

Mr Coulter said: “If there was some clear consensus, we would be looking to implement a plan as soon as possible.”

He added: “People are becoming a bit emotional about this. An amount of aggression is starting to appear, when people are asked not to park in front of houses.

“Some motorists say they have a right to park there because they pay their road tax.”

County council spokesman Owen Morton said: “The council is carrying out detailed design work to progress the scheme and is working to identify potential sources of funding for the project.”