Parking changes to cater for demand in Witney
Time limits at two Witney car parks will be changing this month to better meet demand for short-stay parking.
West Oxfordshire District Council is making the changes from 21 October, ahead of the busy Christmas period. These will take place at the following car parks and include:
Woolgate Car Park - Switching 144 long-stay (9-hour) spaces to 3-hour. The Woolgate Centre is the town’s busiest car park and this will help to meet demand for short-stay parking there. Short-stay parking will continue throughout the rest of the car park.
Marriotts Walk Multi-Storey - Turning the top two floors (145 spaces, Levels 7-8) into 9-hour spaces, instead of 5-hour. These two levels are currently under-used and by moving long-stay parking here, it will help to free-up more spaces for short-stay parking at the Woolgate. The rest of the car park will continue to have a 3-hour time limit.
Parking remains free and the overall number of short-stay (1,387) and long-stay (408) spaces in the town centre will stay the same. There will be no changes to the 12-hour time limit at the Woodford Way Car Park.
Signs are being put up in both car parks to warn drivers in advance of the changes and the Council has informed local businesses, health centres and other premises in the town centre. The changes are being introduced on a trial basis and will be kept under review.
It is estimated that around 100,000 people the town centre each week and demand for off-street parking is rising by 5% each year. The changes are part of the first phase of the Witney Parking Strategy launched at the end of 2012 to set out how parking facilities could be improved to meet increasing demand.
Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Environment at the District Council, said: “With free parking 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the opening of Marriotts Walk shopping centre, an extension to the Woolgate Shopping Centre, improvements to the Market and the town centre going from strength-to-strength, more people are visiting Witney and that is fantastic news - particularly given the recent economic difficulties in the UK.
“This first phase of our strategy supports greater availability of short-stay parking and this will help to continue to support local retailers, while making parking more convenient for shoppers in time for the Christmas rush. We recognise the need for longer-term planning to meet future needs and will be working closely with shopping centres, businesses and other interested parties to ensure we move forward in the best possible way for Witney.”
Significant improvements have already been made to parking in the town centre in recent years, including the new 590-space Marriotts Walk Multi-Storey Car Park in 2009, the introduction of civil parking enforcement and electronic messaging signs to help with traffic management.
West Oxfordshire is the only council in the county to provide free 24/7 parking at all of its public car parks as part of a commitment to supporting the local economy.
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