Oxford park and ride 'no longer necessary' claim opponents

Plan for Seacourt Park and Ride expansion Image copyright Oxford City Council
Image caption Oxford City Council plans to increase the number of parking spaces from 794 to about 1,500

A planned expansion of a park and ride scheme in Oxford is no longer needed, campaigners have claimed.

The plan to nearly double the capacity of the Seacourt site was given planning permission in January 2018.

Oxford City Council has said the work is now "under review" due to flood alleviation work, reports the Local Democracy Reporting Service

Opponents claim new parking spaces at the Westgate Centre make the extension unnecessary.

The development - partly on Oxford's flood plain and on registered green belt land - would increase the number of spaces from 794 to about 1,500.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Opponents had raised concerns about the car park expansion affecting flood flows

The council said construction work had stopped in September while work on the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme was carried out and to avoid disrupting residents.

Campaigners have said there is little need for the extension since the opening of the Westgate Centre's car park in central Oxford in October 2017 and if the county council builds a proposed new park and ride in Eynsham.

Liz Sawyer, of Oxford Flood Alliance said the car park was "practically empty" on peak shopping days over Christmas. The group has previously raised concerns about the expansion affecting flood flows.

Andrew Gant, the leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group on the council, said the need for the work was "not proven".

"There's been a considerable change in car parking in the city since it was approved. It doesn't make it any more obvious that we need these extra spaces."

Alex Hollingsworth, board member for planning and transport, insisted there was "no delay" to the Seacourt extension.

"Work on ground clearance has already been undertaken in preparedness for construction to start, and we had always planned to coordinated our construction work with the Environment Agency's work to construct the proposed Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme."

The expansion is due to be completed in 2020.

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