Labour goes ahead with whopping car park tariff increase

At tonight’s City Executive Board meeting, the Labour Group confirmed that it will still go ahead with a percentage rise in car park charges in Headington that is unparalleled elsewhere in the City.

Labour’s budget will propose the following charges for Headington Car Park and St Leonard’s Road Car Park: (currently £1.70 for 0-2 hours)

0-1 hour  £2.00

1-2 hours £2.50

No consultation has been carried out with residents and businesses on these changes. Once again Labour is imposing top down measures without asking for residents’ views.

Car park charges – Altaf speaks up for Headington

Altaf is attending tonight’s City Executive Board meeting to make a case for Labour’s CEB to treat Headington as a special case in this budget round of car park tariff increases. Here is the case he is making on behalf of residents and businesses.

The current parking charge is £1.70 for 0-2 hours.

The proposals are:
(a) To introduce new tariff bands in line with other suburban car parks (b) To make charges £2.00 for 0-1 hour and £2.50 for 1-2 hours

Points to note

  • CEB agreed to the single two-hour tariff in 2011, its aim was to encourage longer stay in Headington and support local businesses & the Farmers’ Market (which is now weekly, and profits go to community activities).
  • In the budget consultation, over 500 people signed a petition asking for the earlier proposal of a £2.50 rate for 0-2 hours to be withdrawn, so there is evidence that there will be substantial resistance to increased charges.
  • The current proposals are contrary to the expressed wishes of the public. Headington Neighbourhood Plan was made in 2017 and for which there was overwhelming support in the referendum. It states:“The Business and Retail PWG supports the improvement of traffic flow in Headington to enhance the experience of potential customers in the area’s main shopping and business area on London Road and Windmill Road. To this end it proposes that:BRC1: Changes to Car Parking ChargesAt off-peak times only, the car parks on St Leonard’s Road and Old High Street should provide free parking for 30 minutes followed by stepped parking charges.”
  • There has been no consultation with residents or businesses either on the changed tariff bands now proposed or on the newly proposed charges.
  • There is no evidence that any risk assessment on the local business economy has been carried out.
  • The data on which Oxford City Council has based its estimated income figures from these proposed charges was derived from usage data collected from other car parks in the city including Summertown: no statistics are available on length of stay at Headington Car Parks for 0-1 as opposed to 1- 2 hours. This methodology is flawed as it does not take into account local factors.We understand the assumption that Summertown and Headington tariffs should be brought in line, but how that is done without an unreasonably big jump for Headington shoppers and visitors is difficult. We are concerned this may have a negative impact on the sustainability and vitality of the Headington district centre and its Saturday market without demonstrable evidence to the contrary.We believe there is a sound case for CEB to consider imposing a transitional tariff for one year only. During that year, better length of stay data can be collected specific to the two Headington car parks, and there will be time to assess the economic impact, if any, that the intermediate increases in parking charges may have on the vitality of the district centre and its adjacent amenities, Bury Knowle Park and the Library.Submitted by Headington Ward Cllrs Altaf-Khan and Ruth Wilkinson.

Latest proposals for increased parking charges in City-owned car parks

Current charges for Headington Car Park are £1.70 for 0-2 hours.

The City Council has withdrawn the proposed hike to £2.50 for 0-2 hours after hundreds of people opposed it.

The City Council has made alternative proposals in appendix 7 to item 8 on the agenda for the next CEB meeting on 13th February. New proposed charges at Headington Car Parks are:

£2.00 for 0-1 hour

£2.50 for 1-2 hours

You can see the full figures here (go to appendix 7)

These proposals do not reflect the views of the public made during the Headington Neighbourhood Plan referendum in which there was a stated need to make the first half hour of parking in City Car Parks free.

If you would like to ask a question about this decision at next week’s City Executive Board meeting, here is the process.

Attending meetings

City Executive Board meetings are held in public and you are welcome to attend.

Meeting dates and start times are on the calendar and a notice of each meeting is posted at the front of the Town Hall on St. Aldate’s, Oxford.  The majority of meetings are held in the Town Hall.

On occasions the meeting will agree to consider an item in private and if this is the case you will be asked to leave.  This happens within limited circumstances for reasons that you will see detailed on the agenda and listed in our constitution.

Asking questions, making comments or speaking

When the Chair agrees, up to 15 minutes is allocated for all public questions. Questions can be asked about any item for decision at the meeting. 

They must be sent in writing to the Head of Law and Governance in advance of the meeting.  

For a Thursday meeting, questions must be submitted by 9.30am Tuesday.  

You should email executiveboard@oxford.gov.uk or telephone Catherine Phythian, Committee and Member Services Officer. Tel: 01865 252217

No supplementary questions or questioning is permitted.

Ruth and Altaf are number-crunching alternative tariffs and charges in order to achieve a fairer outcome and a Headington Ward Councillor will speak at the CEB meeting. We are very concerned that these changes are being proposed and decided upon  without further public consultation.

Anger as Headington shoppers face 47% increase in car park charge

Residents are protesting against proposals to increase the minimum charge for parking from £1.70 to £2.50 in the City Council-owned Headington and St Leonard’s Road Car Parks. Some have called this “A tax on Waitrose shoppers.”

Businesses are worried that this hike in charges will deter customers from shopping in Headington, and using its services and restaurants.

The proposals for increased car park charges were published in budget documents released for public consultation by Labour’s City Executive Board on 20th December. (1, 2)

Oxpens minimum parking charges are frozen as it competes with new Westgate parking facilities but suburban car parks face substantial rises.

The proposals are out for public comment until 28th January.

Altaf comments, “Many people are angry. The proposed rise in Headington’s 0-2 hour charge is much higher than in other City Council car parks. I am demanding that the Council withdraws this proposal and thinks again.”

Roz says, “I want to see Headington centre thriving, not priced out! The scale of the increase for 0-2 hours is outrageous. I am advising people to send in their objections to the City Council as soon as possible before the 28th January deadline, there is still time to get this changed.”

There are several ways in which the public can respond to the consultation:

  • Sign a petition at Headington Market from 10.00-12.00 on Sat 20 January, also available at various Headington shops including Monaco in Old High Street
  • Write comments down in a letter, mark it “Budget Consultation” and send it by 27th January to: Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, Oxford City Council, First floor St Aldate’s Chambers, OX1 1DS
  • Submit comments to the lengthy online consultation at https://consultation.oxford.gov.uk/consult.ti/budget2018/consultationHome

The Chief Executive will attend the next Headington Ward Focus meeting on Tuesday 30th January at the Headington Baptist Church, 98 Old High Street from 6:00-6:30pm

 

Source documents

(1)

http://mycouncil.oxford.gov.uk/documents/s39528/Appendix%207%20Fees%20Charges%2018-19.pdf

(2) http://mycouncil.oxford.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=14878#mgDocuments

Appendix 7 Fees and charges p130

 

New shelters finally arrive!

We’re delighted to see the new shelters installed at Headington Car Park, it’s taken a while but we’ve got there in the end! We have asked the officer to investigate costs of placing advertising boards in the shelters – it would be great if local businesses could use them for promotional purposes.

car park shelter

Have your say on Park and Ride charges

Proposed introduction of

charges for long-stay use of

Thornhill and Water Eaton Park

& Ride sites

The Thornhill site is regularly full by 9am which means that many who wish to use it cannot do so. Approval has been given to expand the Thornhill site and work is due to commence in the autumn. The site is in Green Belt and the extension was approved on condition that it was managed in such a way as to encourage sustainable travel into Oxford – rather than elsewhere – and that there was a limit on the maximum stay allowed for parking.

The County Council is therefore proposing to introduce charging for those who stay beyond 11 hours, which is considered to be the number of hours expected for normal work, business or shopping purposes in Oxford, and to limit the maximum stay at the sites to 72 hours. The proposed charges are as follows:-

  • Parking for up to 11 hours                           free
  • Parking for between 11 hours and 24 hours – £3
  • Parking for between 24 hours and 48 hours – £6
  • Parking for between 48 hours and 72 hours – £9

These charges will be waived for disabled Blue Badge holders, cycles and motorcycles. In addition, electric vehicles using the charging points will also not pay.

Payment of the charge will be by using machines at the sites or via the internet or mobile phone – there will be no need to display a ticket on vehicles. The two sites have been equipped with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) equipment which will be used to match number plates of vehicles entering and leaving the sites and so enable the duration of stay to be calculated. If payment is required but has not been made, site staff will find it and issue an Excess Charge Notice (‘parking ticket’); such Notices will also be issued for vehicles that park incorrectly or stay beyond the 72 hours maximum. Each Notice will be for £100, discounted by half if paid within 14 days.

You can register for the consultation here and submit your comments online before 14 September

Local Sustainable Transport Fund – a summary

We are being asked lots of questions about what the LSTF is. There is more guidance on the County Council website, but here is a brief summary.

The £5m bid for the project entitled Supporting Employment  Growth and Accessing Higher Education and Healthcare in Oxford was successful.  The majority of this funding is revenue but supported by £2.8million of capital from the County Council and Developer contributions.  The funding covers the period from now until the end of 2014/15.  The principal objective is to deliver better access to employment and health facilities in the Headington area through development of Park & Ride, and focuses on the expansion of Thornhill Park & Ride (to around 1,400 spaces) which has planning permission.  This extension will be complemented by:

*        innovative new bus services (using low carbon vehicles) linking P&R (including Water Eaton as well as Thornhill) to the hospitals, Brookes and Oxford University Headington campuses including Bus Stop upgrades to Premium Route standard; 

*        new bus priority along the London Road, to complete this project;

*        measures to encourage walking and cycling for  trips to local destinations from Thornhill (including a proposed cycle hub / hire scheme);

*        a comprehensive ‘Travel Choices’ project including working with key employers.

The  construction of the Thornhill extension was initially scheduled for June 2012 with completion by February 2013 – but timing was dependent on negotiations with landowner (Shotover) impacting on environmental works.  Selective charging of long stay users (principally London bound) of the site was proposed from April 2012 and would need to take into account the need to encourage hospital use and to cater for shift patterns.

Outline design is starting on the London Road bus lane which will look at options for extending bus priority on this corridor in both directions.  This may offer opportunities to improve the efficiency of operation of Headington Roundabout by reducing queues tailing back to it.  Public consultation on options is initially programmed for Spring 2012 with construction in May 2013, although there may be opportunities to bring this forward.

The other elements in the programme are currently at the scoping or preliminary stage:  bus stop upgrades, new bus services on the completion of the scheme, and cycle and pedestrian measures.  The travel choices project has started with travel surveys in early 2012 followed by personalised and workplace travel planning activities in early 2013.

Assistance for the disabled in H Car Park

Handrails will be installed shortly at Headington Car Park to assist mobility impaired shoppers to access Waitrose from the disabled car parking spaces. We are grateful to the City Council and the Waitrose store for jointly funding this access initiative, following our intervention on behalf of a shopper who finds the existing slopes too much for her without extra support.

Headington Car Park omitted from development plans

The agenda for the next Full Council meeting has been made available.  Seven sites have not been included within the Proposed Submission for development. Here is the section on Headington Car Park.

Headington Car Park – the potential loss of car parking and the effect on trade at shops in Headington was of considerable concern to the local community with a petition received of nearly 3,500 signatories against any development on this site. The site is surrounded by the Old Headington Conservation Area and for development to be viable it would most likely need to be built over a number of storeys which could adversely affect the conservation area. At this stage it is difficult to know whether this is deliverable and achievable and if it could retain sufficient car parking. For these reasons it should not be allocated.

It is still technically possible for this decision to be reversed at Full Council on 19 December, but this is fairly unlikely. We shall report back to Headington ward residents with the final decision on Tuesday 20 December at our Headington Ward Focus meeting, Headington Baptist  Church, Old High Street, 6.00 – 8.00pm.

Congratulations to all our residents and businesses for voicing our opposition so effectively!