Plans to charge employers for parking spaces rejected

Bicester Advertiser: Suzanna Pressel Suzanna Pressel

AN attempt to charge employers for letting their employees park in private spaces in Oxford has been rejected.

A motion put forward by Labour councillor Susanna Pressel collapsed when it was put to yesterday’s full meeting of Oxfordshire County Council.

Ms Pressel said a levy could raise cash for the council and reduce congestion by encouraging commuters to use public transport.

But despite winning the support of Labour and Green councillors, the motion was defeated after it was branded bad for business by Tories and Liberal Democrats.

It comes after a similar scheme was launched in Nottingham, which raises £8m a year.

Ms Pressel, who also sits on the city council, said: “Congestion is bad for the economy and very bad for our health.

“The main cause of congestion is, of course, commuters, so it is only fair to look to employers to accept some responsibility for it.”

The plan – which is the latest of its kind to be considered in the city – may have been knocked back, but some say the scheme would benefit the city.

Simon Pratt, regional director of sustainable transport charity Sustrans, said he would welcome a levy.

He said: “There is something like 1,500 public off-road parking spaces and in excess of 6,000 privately owned parking spaces. The issue is not just about parking but about additional traffic it creates.”

Taxi driver Colin Dobson was less happy, saying: “It's an impractical, ill-thought-through proposal, a yet further unwanted tax on local businesses.”

During the meeting, Green group leader David Williams said: “I am very much in support of this particular proposal. “I think the officers have to look at some of the legalities of it, like where do we draw the line for very small employers?”

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Conservative and Liberal politicians argued that the levy was not the answer, and some said it would cause more trouble than it was worth.

Lib Dem Jean Fooks, also a city councillor, said: “I can only agree that congestion is extremely bad for everybody.

“It is bad for the people sitting in it and bad because of the pollution it causes, but the solution is not immediately obvious.”

Others were also critical.

Conservative Simon Hoare said: “I wonder what happens to the schools of the city, to the hospitals of the city, to the universities. This is not a levy, it is a tax on business.”

Lib Dem Alison Rooke said the charge would affect ordinary people, whether or not employers passed it on.

She said: “If people are charged to park at their place of work, it will be a charge on them, and if the charge is paid by the employers, they will put up prices.”

And Tory cabinet member for finance Arash Fatemian said: “This is about what the Labour Party does best – taxing hard – working families and the residents of Oxfordshire back to the stone age.”

Comments (6)

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9:00am Wed 11 Dec 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

If the council truly want to earn cash from parking, then it is time to install parking meters on every street where there is a potential revenue stream.

It's easy to work out which streets they are - they are always within a CPZ.
If the council truly want to earn cash from parking, then it is time to install parking meters on every street where there is a potential revenue stream. It's easy to work out which streets they are - they are always within a CPZ. Andrew:Oxford

5:06pm Wed 11 Dec 13

jumpinconclusions says...

Did Susan Pressel say that employers are to blame for employing poeple who commute to work and they should pay for that. What sort of brainless thinking is that? How on this sweet planet can she be seen to represent the people of Oxford with those ideas?
Get a job outside of the council Susan then try and get to that REAL job knowing that if you drive you will have to pay the council to park at your place of emplyment.
Then see what opinions you have like us common everyday folk that live in the real world
Did Susan Pressel say that employers are to blame for employing poeple who commute to work and they should pay for that. What sort of brainless thinking is that? How on this sweet planet can she be seen to represent the people of Oxford with those ideas? Get a job outside of the council Susan then try and get to that REAL job knowing that if you drive you will have to pay the council to park at your place of emplyment. Then see what opinions you have like us common everyday folk that live in the real world jumpinconclusions

4:58am Thu 12 Dec 13

East Oxford Web Watcher says...

jumpinconclusions wrote:
Did Susan Pressel say that employers are to blame for employing poeple who commute to work and they should pay for that. What sort of brainless thinking is that? How on this sweet planet can she be seen to represent the people of Oxford with those ideas?
Get a job outside of the council Susan then try and get to that REAL job knowing that if you drive you will have to pay the council to park at your place of emplyment.
Then see what opinions you have like us common everyday folk that live in the real world
She lives in a £million house in North Oxford mate, so she doesn't need a real job. but if this policy was adopted, I would simply move my company out of the area in protest at this draconian tax. Thus costing the local economy £thousands in business tax and the money my employees spend locally before, during and after work. Susan really needs to think, before airing her harebrained schemes.
[quote][p][bold]jumpinconclusions[/bold] wrote: Did Susan Pressel say that employers are to blame for employing poeple who commute to work and they should pay for that. What sort of brainless thinking is that? How on this sweet planet can she be seen to represent the people of Oxford with those ideas? Get a job outside of the council Susan then try and get to that REAL job knowing that if you drive you will have to pay the council to park at your place of emplyment. Then see what opinions you have like us common everyday folk that live in the real world[/p][/quote]She lives in a £million house in North Oxford mate, so she doesn't need a real job. but if this policy was adopted, I would simply move my company out of the area in protest at this draconian tax. Thus costing the local economy £thousands in business tax and the money my employees spend locally before, during and after work. Susan really needs to think, before airing her harebrained schemes. East Oxford Web Watcher

5:58am Thu 12 Dec 13

riman09 says...

Probably a refreshing idea defeated by the idealism that dogs politics in this country. I bet if the Con-Dems had suggested it, they would have voted for it.

One need only look at the congestion on the High Street next to the Eastgate Hotel to realise it helps to keep these cars out of Oxford.

But then, I'm too optimistic considering many of them are linked to the 'great university' and nothing happens without its approval!
Probably a refreshing idea defeated by the idealism that dogs politics in this country. I bet if the Con-Dems had suggested it, they would have voted for it. One need only look at the congestion on the High Street next to the Eastgate Hotel to realise it helps to keep these cars out of Oxford. But then, I'm too optimistic considering many of them are linked to the 'great university' and nothing happens without its approval! riman09

7:17am Thu 12 Dec 13

King Joke says...

A minority of employers - mainly colleges - continuing to offer free parking to employees does nothing to help the majority of 'hard working families' in the city but does act as a perk for managers coming in from villages in the county.

The disruption it causes through inbound congestion every morning impacts on everyone else, so stopping it and earning a few mill into the bargain is a win for almost everybody.
A minority of employers - mainly colleges - continuing to offer free parking to employees does nothing to help the majority of 'hard working families' in the city but does act as a perk for managers coming in from villages in the county. The disruption it causes through inbound congestion every morning impacts on everyone else, so stopping it and earning a few mill into the bargain is a win for almost everybody. King Joke

7:27am Thu 12 Dec 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

riman09 wrote:
Probably a refreshing idea defeated by the idealism that dogs politics in this country. I bet if the Con-Dems had suggested it, they would have voted for it.

One need only look at the congestion on the High Street next to the Eastgate Hotel to realise it helps to keep these cars out of Oxford.

But then, I'm too optimistic considering many of them are linked to the 'great university' and nothing happens without its approval!
Then Labour would have voted against it as a "Tory Tax" on the regular workers in the city. I wonder if Unison & Unite would have supported the move...

It's completely bizarre that someone who has voted against a city contribution towards a railway line that will bring thousands of workers into the city by train rather than by car is campaigning to charge companies who have employees who bring cars into the city...
[quote][p][bold]riman09[/bold] wrote: Probably a refreshing idea defeated by the idealism that dogs politics in this country. I bet if the Con-Dems had suggested it, they would have voted for it. One need only look at the congestion on the High Street next to the Eastgate Hotel to realise it helps to keep these cars out of Oxford. But then, I'm too optimistic considering many of them are linked to the 'great university' and nothing happens without its approval![/p][/quote]Then Labour would have voted against it as a "Tory Tax" on the regular workers in the city. I wonder if Unison & Unite would have supported the move... It's completely bizarre that someone who has voted against a city contribution towards a railway line that will bring thousands of workers into the city by train rather than by car is campaigning to charge companies who have employees who bring cars into the city... Andrew:Oxford

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