Controversial plans to build a 23-space car park on Easington Park have now been shelved after an agreement with Harriers Academy was reached.
Banbury Town Council’s application to build on the park at the end of Harriers View to create parking spaces for weekend footballers met with swift and vocal resistance, led by Banbury businessman Peter Cheeseman.
Safety issues caused by additional traffic to the area and a loss of much-coveted recreational space were the main concerns for the Easington Action Group, which was formed to fight the plan.
Further questions were raised by residents about the lack of knowledge provided by the council of the plans and the fact that the proposals included closing the car park during the summer months.
However a potential solution to use nearby Harriers Banbury Academy car park, which lies empty at weekends, was put forward last week and an agreement with the school has now been reached.
Alex Pearson, principal of Harriers Banbury Academy, said: “Parking in the area is a challenge but our families also really value the park. We have met over the years with various councils, councillors, residents and police.
“We are pleased to work directly with Banbury Town Council for what we hope will be beneficial for everyone.”
Under the agreement the school will allow teams to park at the site at weekends and Banbury Town Council has offered to reconfigure the car park to increase capacity and install secure gates to ensure safety for all users.
Cllr Kieron Mallon, leader of the town council and Easington representative on Cherwell District Council, said: “The town council’s plans for the rec have brought us together to once again try to find a mutually beneficial council, school, football teams and residents, especially those living in Easington Road and Gardens and St George’s Crescent.”
Mr Cheeseman, chairman of the Easington Action Group, said: “We are delighted Alex Pearson has kindly agreed to use his school car park to stop the flawed planning application for parking spaces on Easington Park.
“We applaud his actions, obviously his concerns over pupil’s safety, who use this park during the weekend period, are of paramount importance.”
He added: “We have been overwhelmed with the positive response we have received from the Easington community with regards to their objections to the planning application.
“We feel that Cllr Mallon’s statement that the car park plan was carefully considered and that it took a planning application to bring us closer together is incorrect.
“It is down to the hard work of the many residents within the Easington community who are attempting to resolve this matter and I would like to express my sincere thanks to all involved.
“It’s a victory for common sense.”