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Fears grow over parking as work begins on pools
CONCERNS have been raised over parking issues in Blackbird Leys as work gets under way on the new swimming pool.
The legal battle over the £7.2m swimming complex has possibly ended, but a new row has sparked over the construction.
Parish council chairman Gordon Roper said: “The parish council is worried over the parking issues. There hasn’t been a lot of transparency. We haven’t even been told which way the lorries are coming in.
“It is a concern for the people who live near there, because a lot of them may not have anywhere to park, or may not be able to get out.
“Are the council going to put laybys in, or traffic lights, or will there be some other way of traffic management? We don’t know and would appreciate some answers.”
Pegasus Road resident William Clark tried to get part of the site of the new pool designated as a town green, to halt the development.
He said the traffic management issues would be the “tip of the iceberg”.
Mr Clark said: “This has been the major issue, the infrastructure of the area will simply not be able to cope.
“We have had letters from Wilmott Dixon telling us when they’ll be sending lorries down but it is only going to clog the roads even more.
“It is a two-lane highway. Residents are parking on the road because they can’t get near their homes, and it will not be able to cope.
“They are talking about 400,000 people visiting a year. It won’t be an extra 1,000 people every week but the project is too big for the area.
City councillor Rae Humberstone said he was to investigate the provisions to be made for local residents affected by the parking problems.
And city councillor Scott Seamons is to oversee the initial building works and contractor parking, and which the route construction vehicles will take to access the site.
Oxford City Council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We have been working closely with Willmott Dixon to ensure that residents are kept informed of the work happening at Blackbird Leys Leisure Centre.
“A letter is currently being distributed to residents and they operate an open door policy at their office, which means if residents have concerns about the work they can speak to them direct.
“A construction traffic management plan was secured through planning permission.”
Wilmott Dixon said it had worked out a proper traffic management plan and had kept residents informed.
A judicial review into the scheme was dropped in May, allowing the development to go ahead a year after planned.
The new centre, with three pools, will form part of an enlarged leisure centre in Pegasus Road. Opening is set for December 2014
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