Cowley city councillor David Henwood talks about why he has teamed up with frustrated residents to hand out 'friendly parking tickets'.

THE Bermuda Triangle in Cowley lies between Ragan House on the corner of Between Towns Road, Knights Court, home of Oxfordshire County Council social workers and occupational therapists and Oxford Business Park, the location of British Gas and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

For some unknown reason car navigation systems fail in this area.

Employees of British Gas, Knights Court and Ragan House are simply unable to navigate to their respective car parks or the public car parks in the area.

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It is only when they leave their cars and travel on foot, are they able to navigate through Cowley’s Bermuda Triangle.

By 9.30 am, residents tell me a swarm of office staff will have occupied the very limited parking space in Boswell Road.

Council and NHS workers and members of the staff from Oxford Business Park appear to be using Boswell, Bailey and Fredrick Road as their local free car parks.

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Councillor David Henwood with the 'community parking tickets' residents have started placing on cars in Cowley

The county council’s attempts to enforce the current parking restrictions on Boswell, Bailey, and Fredericks Road can only be described as pitiful in this area of Cowley.

Residents are also divided over the value of the ‘magic parking pill’ to solve Cowley’s parking problems in the form of a CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone).

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Oxford City Council proposals to introduce a parking levy has further angered local residents.

The potential £600 charge to businesses, schools and hospitals in Oxford will merely ‘decanter’ cars from employee car parks to areas not affected by the levy, namely Cowley.

This is not a problem if buses were affordable, but unfortunately, they are not, and there is little hope the proposed ‘Cowley Branch Line’ will be affordable.

In a letter from the CCG to its customers, the NHS actually direct their customers away from their own parking facilities at Jubilee House, to public car parks, as well as Boswell Road and Barns Road, providing detailed maps on where to park in the area; a practice that is not only irresponsible, but simply wrong.

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We have also discovered that the NHS issues a limited number of operational car park permits, reducing the cost of parking in public spaces to £2.60 a day or £1.50 for three to four hours.

A CPZ in this area won’t protect local residents, unless the three culprits of the Bermuda Triangle are included.

We need to take more direct action, and engage directly with local organisations.

Community parking tickets are a start, and have clearly rattled the triangle.

If cars are an essential means of travel for employees to meet their terms of employment, we need to demand that local businesses take greater responsibility and to cover the whole cost of staff parking.

The poor behaviour of these three organisations and Cowley Centre staff parking in The Grates, could mean Cowley residents end up collectively paying thousands of pounds a year for a CPZ, this I think is really unfair.

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Cowley residents shouldn’t be penalised for the actions of a few.

Why not simply introduce ‘Residents Parking Only’ to the roads affected, which includes Boswell, Barns, Fredericks, St Luke’s, St Omer and The Grates.

We demand local employers encourage their staff to use their own car parks.

Community Parking Tickets will continue, and we will continue to lobby the county council to get off their corporate backside, and acknowledge that their inaction to enforce current parking restrictions is not only failing Cowley residents, but also contributing to the problem.

This article is also an open invitation to three local organisations to attend the public meeting on October 15 from 6.45pm at the Venue.

Oxfordshire County Council and the police have also been invited.

It’s time to talk.