Suggestions for residents parking scheme put on hold in market towns across Oxfordshire, including Banbury

Suggestions for a residents parking scheme has been put on hold in market towns across Oxfordshire, including Banbury.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 9:35 am
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 9:36 am

Work on considering calls for residents’ parking schemes in Oxfordshire market towns has been put on the back-burner to give council officers time to digest new enforcement powers.

Earlier this week it was announced that the county council’s bid to take on responsibility for civil parking enforcement outside of Oxford city has been approved by the government.

But Tuesday July 13 at a meeting a knock-on effect of this was made clear to councillors who are lobbying for residents-only parking schemes.

Suggestions for residents parking scheme put on hold in market towns across Oxfordshire, including Banbury
Suggestions for residents parking scheme put on hold in market towns across Oxfordshire, including Banbury

Council officers are having to devote time to digesting their new responsibilities.

“At present the priority to ensure the successful delivery of civil parking enforcement powers, of which there is a lot to do,” said Cllr Tim Bearder (Lib Dem, Wheatley) the cabinet member for highway management.

“We are therefore not currently actively working on proposed schemes at this time, but officers continue to collate requests of this nature.”

Cllr Bearder was responding at a meeting of the full council to a question from council opposition leader Cllr Eddie Reeves (Cons, Banbury Calthorpe).

Cllr Reeves asked if the council will “undertake to prioritise implementation of residents’ parking schemes for market towns such as Banbury including, notably, the town centre streets.”

Cllr Reeves was following up on a petition that was received by Oxfordshire County Council at its meeting in March.

Resident Simon Ruff in March had called for “urgent and independent consideration to the following schemes to improve residents’ parking, reduce traffic speeds, and make roads safer for residents, pedestrians, and cyclists.”

He had wanted residents’ parking schemes introduced urgently for roads in Banbury where properties do not already benefit from off-road parking: Beargarden Road, Berrymoor Road, Broughton Road, Crouch Street, Gilkes Yard, Hornbeam Close, Westbeech Court, and West Bar Street.

Cllr Bearder said council officers are making sure they are able to manage requests for new parking related schemes after they implement enforcement.

And he added a note of caution that consideration of so called controlled parking zones will be dependent on factors including strategic objectives, potential funding, levels of local support and officer resources to deliver schemes.

Cllr Reeves accused Cllr Bearder of presenting a “heavily manicured answer” to the committee and pressed: “Will Banbury be a priority for CPE roll out – yes or no.”

Cllr Bearder responded by saying his answer was clear and that: “We’re not prioritising anywhere.”

It is planned that parking enforcement in Vale of White Horse, South Oxfordshire and Cherwell districts transfer from the police to the county council.

Cllr Bearder has welcomed this as “one of the most significant changes the county will be making in decades.”

The county council is hoping to copy the success it sees in Oxford city where the authority has a track record of implementing and running permit parking schemes, where enforcement is seen as key.

A councillor steering group is proposed to consider such issues, similar to the arrangements already operating within the Oxford City boundary.