Some Cherwell carparks could be redeveloped


In the face of revenues not hitting targets “repurposing” might be part of a new carparking strategy

Some of Cherwell District Council’s car parks could be redeveloped in the face of usage remaining at levels below the period before the pandemic.   A report to the Council’s Executive last night (Monday) warned that there was an indication that the expected income from car parking may need to “further deteriorate”.

Last month the authority confirmed it would dip into savings to plug a £458,000 gap between what it budgeted to make from car parking charges and projections at the time.

In a discussion on the situation the Head of Environmental Services, Ed Potter, told Councillors that all day parking had been “very badly hit” since the pandemic and the commuter car parks near the  railway station were “very empty”.

Mr Potter indicated that the increase in car parking charges hadn’t brought in the expected extra income.    He noted car parking income had stood at around £1.8m per year before the pandemic.   This had dropped to £1m during the pandemic and although it had recovered a lot it was still not back to earlier levels.

He said: “We do need to review our carparking strategy … and consider have we got too much capacity.   Should we release some sites for development in the future.   That should be picked up by redoing our carparking strategy, which expires anyway at the end of March.”

Deputy Leader Councillor Ian Corkin noted the success of events such as Canal Day, but felt there wasn’t going to be a return to how things used to be.   He said: “The promotions calendar around town centre regeneration is absolutely critical as shown on Canal Day – an enormously popular weekend which brought a lot of people into the town. 

“It is simply not enough to have retail premises of whatever size and hope that you can fill your car parks off the back of them these days…   

“There’s opportunities to repurpose car parks in exactly the same way as we’ve sought opportunities to repurpose shops and town centre space and Canalside.   It’s a complicated evolving situation and not one that surprises me.   I would seek new solutions rather than look at the figures and say when are they going to get back to where they were pre-pandemic.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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