Witney’s Woolgate car park could become decked as the district council hunts for 600 more parking spots.
West Oxfordshire District Council’s cabinet were due to discuss whether to invest in a feasibility study on expanding the car park upwards at a meeting last night.
However, any investment does not guarantee that a viable scheme will be identified, and the council has made no decision on the size of any car park or number of spaces at this stage.
The cabinet was expected to consider whether it wishes to join forces with USS (Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd), the Woolgate Centre’s leasehold company, to look into adding a deck to part of the existing car park.
Cllr James Mills, WODC leader, said: “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.
“However, it will require investment to fund scheme drawings and undertake feasibility studies regarding town planning, traffic, highways and commercial viability.”
Woolgate car park, located next to Waitrose and Next, is the town’s largest car park, accommodating 780 vehicles across seven zones.
The council identified the need for 600 off-street spaces by 2031 due to the planned development of 4,587 new homes in the town.
This represents a 31 per cent increase in the number of homes, as well as an increase in jobs in the town and a reduction in on-street parking.
Cllr Mills stressed the proposal “is simply a consideration as to whether such a development is a feasible option for delivering additional parking”, adding: “We would, of course, also need to look at the funding options available.”
An added complication is that the site sits within a conservation area and flood zone and any potential impacts on traffic and residents need to be explored.
Adding an extra deck to an existing car park has been long been discussed by councillors and Cllr Duncan Enright has emphasised that Woodford Way car park, behind Witney Community Hospital, also needs to be part of the broader plan.
On the potential decking of Woolgate car park, the Labour leader said: “I can’t see any harm in discussing it – we certainly need more parking and that place gets absolutely rammed on busy days.”
If a feasible scheme were found, the next stage would be preparation of a planning application.