THE biggest car park in Witney could get even bigger if plans for a new level are approved.

Hundreds of spaces could be created in the heart of the town by adding a deck to part of the single-storey Woolgate car park – as West Oxfordshire District Council tries to create 600 extra off-street spaces in Witney by 2031.

The hunt for spaces follows the council’s publication of its parking strategy in 2017, which outlines the need for 1,000 extra spaces across the district over the next 15 years.

The search for spaces is in line with increased population, with thousands of homes expected to be built in and around the town at the same time.

Today councillors in West Oxfordshire will consider whether to join forces with the owners of the Woolgate and explore the ‘innovative’ parking solution with a feasibility study.

The council’s deputy leader, Toby Morris, said: “I think one of the things we’re good at as a council is innovative ideas and not going down the traditional route.

“When you initially think about this you think ‘absolutely’.

“It sounds like a good idea but we have to ask whether it will work.”

He said one thing to consider would be the additional traffic heading to the car park.

The Woolgate is the largest car park in Witney with 780 spaces and the district council is the freeholder of the site, but much of the site is leased to USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd), the Woolgate Centre’s leasehold company.

USS wants to expand its retail units at this site, building out from the Waitrose building. The potential to add a deck to the car park arose as a result of these plans.

While councillors are unable to put a number on the amount of spaces that could be created, if it goes ahead it is likely to be a significant contribution to the 600 spaces needed in the town.

Council leader James Mills said: “We welcome the proposals from USS and the opportunity to work with them to explore how we can increase Witney’s car parking capacity to support the town centre and local economy. “A decked car park could meet, in part, the town’s future parking needs as set out in our parking strategy, and it would support an extension to retail units.”

The cabinet will decide whether to launch the feasibility study at a meeting in the council’s Woodgreen offices today at 2pm.

If approved, the council will invest £87,500 in the study. Witney currently has 1,697 spaces in its car parks.