• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Cherwell District Council announces carpark improvements but workers say parking is too expensive

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 1, 2022

A new deal between two councils will deliver improvements to council carparks.

Drivers using council carparks are set to benefit from improvements as Cherwell District Council prepares to strike a new deal with Oxfordshire County Council.

The council’s contract with current provider APCOA will expire in November.

On September 5 Cherwell’s executive is set to approve plans which build on existing relationships with the county council, which took over enforcement of on-street parking in November 2021.

The deal will streamline enforcement, save the council around £100,000 every year, and speed up card payments.

Cherwell’s current contract with APCOA is worth around £450,000 a year and predicted annual spend under a deal with the county council is under £350,000.

Councillor Dan Sames, Portfolio Holder for Cleaner and Greener Communities, said: “Drivers have benefitted from a number of improvements during the course of our existing contract with APCOA.

“These include the introduction of pay on exit at two car parks, the addition of electric vehicle chargers at five of them, and this autumn, LED lighting will follow.

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“Our commitment under a new arrangement with Oxfordshire County Council will be to speed up payment machines and increase pay on exit, which I know is popular with drivers.

“We will retain cash payments so that users have a choice of how to pay.”

Council-run carparks in Bicester include four short stay options, Victoria Road, Claremont, Market Square and Chapel Brook, and one long stay option at Cattle Market.

One Bicester resident, Samantha Fox, said: “I prefer to pay on exit, so I don’t have to rush back to the car if I stay for longer.

“Card is easier as well as I don’t always have cash or the right money on me.”

A second resident, Kathy Skinner, said: “Cash should always be an option, however I really think parking should be free as it is in Witney. That would encourage more shoppers.”

Ellie Trimble, a supervisor at New Look in Sheep Street, Bicester, said: “If the increase in the number of ‘pay on exit’ carparks in Bicester encourages more people to visit, then that’s great.

“But the car parks are too expensive anyway.

“I used to park at Cattle Market car park every day, but parking there just became too expensive.

“I was paying £5.70 per day, which amounted to about half my wages.

“Now I either walk or park my car on a friend’s drive, and other people I know park on side streets.

“There needs to be more parking generally for businesses and employees, my shop doesn’t have space behind it for staff to park in.”

Read more from this author

This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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