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  • Writer's pictureCllr Liam Walker

Councillor calls for park and ride review and free parking

Councillors at Oxfordshire County Council will on Tuesday discuss a motion calling for a cross party task force to be set up to explore the viability of making parking at P&R sites free in Oxfordshire.

County Councillor Liam Walker who represents the Hanborough & Minster Lovell division, has put forward the motion in a bid to encourage to the alliance who run the county council to implement some changes. The councillors motion also calls for the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Cllr Liz Leffman and the Cabinet Member for Highways Management, Cllr Andrew Gant, to write to the Leader of Oxford City Council to ask for the city council to join this new task force.

Cllr Walker, who is also the shadow cabinet member for highways, claims that improvements to the councils Park and Rides is important in order to reduce carbon emissions and to help reduce congestion on roads in Oxford city centre.

The motion, to Oxfordshire County Council states: "This council recognises the need to improve public transport in Oxfordshire to reduce emissions, tackle congestion and make sure our bus services are more sustainable. Park and Ride sites are important transport hubs in Oxfordshire helping to reduce the need to drive into Oxford city. To help meet the commitments as stated above this council calls on both the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Highways Management to: Establish a cross-party task force to explore the viability of making parking at our P&R sites free, write to the Leader of Oxford City Council asking for the city council to join this new task force, work with public transport providers in Oxfordshire to establish a Park & Ride improvement plan."

Cllr Liam Walker said, "One of my biggest regrets when in charge of highways in Oxfordshire was not having the time to implement serious changes to reducing congestion in Oxfordshire. I did some work with the Westgate shopping centre which was complimented with free parking at P&R sites in 2020 over the Christmas period and in August to support the government's Eat Out To Help Out scheme and doing this seemed popular. This new council now has a great opportunity to implement improvements to P&R sites and cut costs to users to help encourage the switch to public transport and help residents keep more of their hard earned money."

Cllr Eddie Reeves, Conservative Group Leader at the county council, who is supporting Cllr Walker's motion said, "Our policy to make Park and Rides free is a pro-business, pro-environment measure. Unlike Labour and the Liberal Democrats, who want to punish motorists, the Conservative approach is about choice. We want people across Oxfordshire to come into our beautiful city and to use their cars freely without feat of being hammered on arrival or made to feel like they should be walking or cycling in by councillors who know nothing, or very little, about rural life. This sensible step would allow people to drive into Oxford and choose where to park: at a Park and Ride for free or in the city centre at a reasonable cost."

The motion will be discussed at Oxfordshire County Council's full council meeting on Tuesday 12th July.

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