NEIGHBOURS who have fought a two-year battle to combat parking congestion in their narrow streets claim the problem is being caused by the same council charged with sorting it out.

Parked cars in the Coleridge Close and St Luke’s Road area of Cowley cause daily difficulties for people trying to get their own cars off their driveways.

Inconsiderate parking has even stopped rubbish collections because bin lorries can’t get through.

Fed up with no parking resolution in sight, frustrated locals have got together to conduct a survey to find out who the cars belong to.

They claim the majority of 30 problem vehicles were driven by Oxfordshire County Council employees either working or visiting the social services offices at Knights House on nearby Between Towns Road.

Council staff moved into the building in May 2008.

Coleridge Close resident Michael Lockwood, 69, said the council must take steps to tackle the issue.

He said: “You can see them coming and going each day.

“If they go, someone fills their place up. Some are here all day, every day.

“I know it’s county council staff because of the number of stickers counted in windscreen or the lapel badges the motorists wear.”

He added: “One solution would be to put double yellow lines in but they won’t even do that.

“A fire engine or ambulance wouldn’t get down here – that’s what I am really worried about.”

County councillor John Sanders, who has backed residents’ calls for restrictions, said many residents spotted council staff, identified by their lapel badges, returning to vehicles.

He said: “The streets are fairly narrow and if a car is parked opposite your drive and on both sides you just cannot get out of your driveway.” He said some residents would not want to pay for parking permits to protect the street from the council’s own staff and added.

“I think the council should go round and put double yellow lines down to protect drives and, for instance, in the mouth of Coleridge Close one side should be double yellows to allow bin lorries and emergency vehicles to get into that street.”

One-hour parking restrictions in area, designed to protect residents from all-day parking by employees of the original Cowley motor works, became redundant after the factory was closed.

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Owen Morton said the council was in discussion with residents to find a solution.

He added: “Staff based at Knights Court have been urged to use car parks rather than residential streets, and at all times to park considerately with due respect for the residents in the area.”