Oxford park and ride charges may return

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Charges could return to Oxford park and ride sites because of budget pressures.

Oxfordshire County Council took over the running of Peartree, Redbridge and Seacourt three years ago, subsidising Oxford City Council's losses.

But the county council has handed back control, saying it can no longer afford to pay the subsidy.

Councillor Ed Turner, deputy leader of the city council, said aspirations to provide a free service now seemed unlikely.

He added: "Naturally, we are disappointed.

"More people have been using the park and ride sites, and fewer people have been driving into the city centre in the last three years.

"This has helped reduce congestion and made the city centre a more pleasant environment."

'Financially constrained'

Running the three sites costs £700,000 a year.

Two other sites at Thornhill and Water Eaton will remain under county council control with no charges for those travelling into Oxford.

But a new charge is being considered for longer-stay parking.

Rodney Rose, cabinet member for transport, said: "The county council is doing all it can to provide the best services to residents and visitors to Oxfordshire within the financially constrained times facing us all.

"Our decision to take on responsibility for all the sites was originally taken in better financial times when we were able to absorb all of the costs.

"Sadly, both ourselves and our partners at the city council can no longer afford to continue with this arrangement."

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