U-turn on disabled parking in Witney High Street

Witney Gazette: Lesley Semaine, chairman of Witney Chamber of Commerce Lesley Semaine, chairman of Witney Chamber of Commerce

DISABLED parking bays are set to return to Witney’s High Street following a change of heart by the county council.

In August, the county council introduced a ban on loading and waiting along one side of High Street, which meant blue badge holders could no longer park there.

Previously the road just had double yellow lines, allowing disabled drivers to park.

The change was implemented to help buses pass along the street more easily, but disabled drivers condemned the move and their complaints have prompted a rethink.

The council is now proposing introducing parking for up to three hours for disabled drivers on the east side of High Street, near Boots, and on the west side at Market Square. Consultation on the proposal runs until December 14.

The council’s cabinet member for transport, Wychwoods councillor Rodney Rose, said: “We had to have a rethink on this, because people complained. People living in the hinterland of Witney who are disabled rely on their cars and they need some disabled parking in the town centre.”

The move comes at the same time as West Oxfordshire District Council has adopted a revised strategy for its town centre car parks.

Councillors say they want to meet a rising demand for spaces, especially for shoppers, while retaining free parking to help trade in the town.

All 853 spaces at the Woolgate car park will be made short-stay, meaning motorists can park for a maximum of three hours.

At the moment, there are 144 long-stay, nine-hour spaces, with the rest designated as short-stay.

Nine-hour spaces will instead be provided on the top two floors of the Marriotts Walk multi-storey car park, where the current maximum is five hours.

As part of the strategy, the temporary Woodford Way car park will remain open for the next three years.

Lesley Semaine, chairman of Witney Chamber of Commerce, said: “We wholeheartedly give our backing to this strategy and appreciate the support from the council.

“Witney is a bustling, vibrant town and the car parks, particularly the Woolgate, do get very busy. The freeing up of short-stay spaces will help to keep the flow moving, so this is welcome as a first step.”

It is estimated about 100,000 people visit the town centre each week and a review by the council found demand for off-street parking was rising by five per cent every year.

Usage figures compiled for the review show the Woolgate car park is 87 per cent used, up four per cent over the past year-and-a-half, while use of the Marriotts Walk car park has risen from 37 per cent to 43 per cent over the same period.

The council’s cabinet approved the strategy last Wednesday.

David Harvey, the cabinet member for the environment, said: “It’s fantastic that so many people want to come to Witney. However, we recognise the need to cater for growing demand and this strategy will provide a stepping stone to realising the longer-term measures needed to accommodate future needs.”

Comments (5)

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12:02pm Wed 21 Nov 12

bigtel says...

How come taxi upon taxi upon taxi are allowed to park all the way from the mini roundabout by Nat' West all the way up to the taxi rank (excluding the crossing) at all hours regardless if its double yellow lines or not.
This is clearly done without fear of prosecution from the Community Officers.
If it was us ordinary folk we would receive a ticket.
Why one rule for them and one for us?
How come taxi upon taxi upon taxi are allowed to park all the way from the mini roundabout by Nat' West all the way up to the taxi rank (excluding the crossing) at all hours regardless if its double yellow lines or not. This is clearly done without fear of prosecution from the Community Officers. If it was us ordinary folk we would receive a ticket. Why one rule for them and one for us? bigtel

5:08pm Wed 21 Nov 12

westoxon says...

While i completely sympathise with anyone who is disabled, i think this desision to rethink the parking outside the Coop is a disaster. The road is too narrow to allow parking on both sides and as a professional driver it has made so much difference with the parking ban in place. To allow parking again will cause congestion and its only a matter of time before an accident occurs. The other alternative would be to ban traffic from High Street to Market Square except for busses and taxis and people with a disabled badge. Again while i thoroughly support ideas to help the disabled, there are plenty of other places they can park. It is also worth noting that on the reverse of their parking badge it clearly states YOU MUST NOT CAUSE AN OBSTRUCTION. Lets have the side of the High Street by the 99p shop reserved for disabled and keep the Coop side free
While i completely sympathise with anyone who is disabled, i think this desision to rethink the parking outside the Coop is a disaster. The road is too narrow to allow parking on both sides and as a professional driver it has made so much difference with the parking ban in place. To allow parking again will cause congestion and its only a matter of time before an accident occurs. The other alternative would be to ban traffic from High Street to Market Square except for busses and taxis and people with a disabled badge. Again while i thoroughly support ideas to help the disabled, there are plenty of other places they can park. It is also worth noting that on the reverse of their parking badge it clearly states YOU MUST NOT CAUSE AN OBSTRUCTION. Lets have the side of the High Street by the 99p shop reserved for disabled and keep the Coop side free westoxon

8:43pm Wed 21 Nov 12

Charl2010 says...

While i completely sympathise with anyone who is disabled I don't understand why there is a need to park at high street when there are plenty of disabled parking in the car parks around witney close to the shops most of which are left empty most of the time maybe If the case is that they allow them to park in hight street then get rid of most of the non used disabled parking and replace them with needed mother and baby parking for under
While i completely sympathise with anyone who is disabled I don't understand why there is a need to park at high street when there are plenty of disabled parking in the car parks around witney close to the shops most of which are left empty most of the time maybe If the case is that they allow them to park in hight street then get rid of most of the non used disabled parking and replace them with needed mother and baby parking for under Charl2010

11:38am Thu 22 Nov 12

richwitney says...

Fully agree with Charl2010 - leave the ban as it is and move the disabled spaces across the road to outside Clarks and the Oxfam Bookshop.

There simply isn't enough space for 4 lanes of traffic (2 parking, 2 moving) on the High Street.

The answer is blindingly obvious - so why can't OCC see it?
Fully agree with Charl2010 - leave the ban as it is and move the disabled spaces across the road to outside Clarks and the Oxfam Bookshop. There simply isn't enough space for 4 lanes of traffic (2 parking, 2 moving) on the High Street. The answer is blindingly obvious - so why can't OCC see it? richwitney

11:40am Thu 22 Nov 12

richwitney says...

Just re-read the story - so by the 'East-side' of the High Street, does this mean someone has finally injected some common sense into this problem?!
Just re-read the story - so by the 'East-side' of the High Street, does this mean someone has finally injected some common sense into this problem?! richwitney

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