TRAFFIC campaigners have warned plans for a park-and-ride at Eynsham will make congestion on the A40 worse.

Oxfordshire County Council has put forward the plans in connection with the proposed Northern Gateway development near Wolvercote in Oxford.

Hugh Jaeger of Bus Users UK’s Oxford group said: “We value park-and-ride as a way to reduce city congestion. But this can increase car traffic on roads near park-and-ride sites close to the ring road.

“The county council has just finished consulting on subsidised bus services in West Oxfordshire. It proposes withdrawing up to seven routes and reducing up to 17 others.

“An Eynsham park-and-ride combined with local bus cuts could attract commuters from much of West Oxfordshire, but significantly increase A40 traffic between Eynsham and Burford.”

The Northern Gateway development would involve building between 200 and 500 homes on land between Wolvercote and the A34 as well as space for 3,000 jobs.

But the proposal has raised concerns about the impact on the already-congested A40 between Oxford and Witney – with officials from Oxford City Council saying it can only go ahead after “very serious transport improvements”.

And city councillor Colin Cook, executive board member for city development, gave these proposal his support.

He said: “Clearly anything that moves people away from their own car on to public transport is a good thing.

“Equally clearly the devil will be in the detail when it comes to providing appropriate park-and-ride provision at Eynsham. So qualified support – provided it’s possible to get suitable arrangements in place for this facility at Eynsham.”

County councillor for Summertown and Wolvercote Jean Fooks said: “There is severe congestion at the Wolvercote roundabout daily and this leads to poor air quality as well as delay. Reducing the traffic levels has to be a key objective of any measures to improve the area.

“Having a park-and-ride at Eynsham would reduce the number of cars considerably, which has to be a good thing.”

Oxford’s park-and-ride system – which already has five car parks – is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and the city was one of the first to experiment with the concept.

County council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “A park-and-ride west of Oxford on the A40 could form part of the transport strategy for Northern Gateway. No preferred location for a site has been selected.

“One of the possible locations (Eynsham) was referenced at the meeting last week as the concept has previously been included in various documents including earlier Local Transport Plans.

“This will be looked at alongside other potential locations along the A40 corridor as part of the Northern Gateway transport work.”