NEW car parking charges at Oxford’s parks have driven motorists to leave their vehicles in neighbouring streets, it was claimed last night.
Oxford City Council started charging users of Cutteslowe Park, Alexandra Courts, Port Meadow, Hinksey Park and Sunnymead Park for parking last October.
The changes were made as part of a drive to deter commuters from using the car parks, and to generate extra income – resulting in an additional £26,000 up to the end of March 2012.
But residents say the charges have just displaced the problem and have called for restrictions to be introduced in nearby side streets.
Highways chiefs at County Hall have ruled out introducing residents’ parking – known as controlled parking zones – and are instead planning to ban all parking in Harbord Road, Cutteslowe, between 9am and 5pm during the week.
Retired printer Geoff Jordan, 61, regularly travels from Kidlington to walk his dog in Cutteslowe Park. He said he had no choice but to park in the side streets.
He said: “Some people can’t afford this extra tax on their cars. We buy road tax and we pay fuel duty, this is just another tax on drivers.”
At Cuttleslowe Park, drivers are charged 50p for up to an hour and £1 for up to three hours.
Summertown Stars FC uses Cutteslowe Park, and members opposed the plans when they were put forward early last year.
Roger Parry, from the club, said he wanted to know the effect the charges were having.
He said: “I think they should do some research to identify whether there has been an impact on park use.”
City council Liberal Democrat group leader Jean Fooks said: “We’re trying our best to find a solution. Getting rid of these charges would make a big difference.”
Oxfordshire County Council also plans to introduce two-hour maximum stay limits in Five Mile Drive.
County council spokesman Owen Morton said: “The current proposal to introduce parking restrictions on Harbord Road follows a request from the local county councillor (Jean Fooks) in response to these concerns. “A public consultation on this proposal is under way and due to close today.
“While the council could never rule out the possibility of proposing a controlled parking zone (CPZs) in the future, at present there is unfortunately no available funding to develop such a scheme.”
Oxford City Council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We have received very few complaints from residents regarding parking issues in the Cutteslowe area. “However, we are aware that residents have approached local councillors to raise their concerns.”