Muslims press council for free parking near mosque

Imams Ahmed Qazi and Ataullah Khan Picture: OX65637 Richard Cave

Imams Ahmed Qazi and Ataullah Khan Picture: OX65637 Richard Cave Buy this photo

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

MUSLIMS attending prayers at a city mosque say they should be able to park without having to worry about getting a ticket.

Ever since the Magdalen Road North controlled parking zone (CPZ) came into force in 2012, the Madina Mosque has faced problems.

It has previously asked Oxfordshire County Council to relax the controls in the evenings so worshippers can park nearer to the mosque on Stanley Road without being ticketed.

But the solution proposed by the council of creating an uncontrolled parking bay, with space for four to five cars, in nearby Iffley Road has been opposed by both the mosque and residents.

Junior imam Ahmed Qazi said they want a parking bay in Stanley Road itself.

He said: “We appreciate what the county council offered but there are few houses at a particular point in Stanley Road that have their own driveways so they don’t have to park in the streets.

“Many people have been issued with tickets. Our imam has been issued with a ticket.

“We are only asking for a bay in this spot, not for the whole of Stanley Road.”

A plan for a Magdalen Road zone was first put forward by the county council in 2007.

In response to public concerns the county council split the community in two, creating the Magdalen Road North and Magdalen Road South zones, but the latter has never come into force because of objections from residents.

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It means only residents in the Magdalen Road North zone have permits to park, which cost £50 a year.

The county council said there were “overwhelming objections” from residents of Stanley Road and Iffley Road to its recent proposal for a bay in Iffley Road.

Stanley Road resident Simon Bearder, 68, said: “We would encourage people not to come in cars because the street can get absolutely congested which makes it very difficult.

“The main problem for us is parking on double yellow lines and at the junctions. Some people are upset.”

County councillor David Williams said: “You have got congestion at particular times and residents don’t want cars parking where they want.”

David Tole, the county council’s principal engineer, said: “We have got one part of the community very clearly wanting a relaxation and another part very clearly not which is why we came up with this fairly innocuous change in Iffley Road but even that led to strong responses.”

The issue came before the county council’s cabinet member for transport David Nimmo Smith on Thursday.

He deferred a decision on the parking bay in Iffley Road so that a study could be carried out into how much the parking bays in Stanley Road are used.

Mr Nimmo Smith told the meeting: “Both communities are clearly not comfortable with this at the moment so I am going to defer a decision on this.

“I would like a more objective assessment to be made of the usage of the parking bays in the area.”

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