Sir – We must be careful not to create a north-south divide of the town centre where one area is thriving and buzzing while the other is suffering from a lack of investment and footfall.

The new community building when constructed will include a library, offices and a 53-bed Travelodge hotel, which strangely enough will not be providing a car park.

The use of the Cattle Market long-stay car park in Victoria Road would be a solution for guests, as well as local people who need somewhere to park long term during work hours. Reasonable fees and clear signposting for long-term parking would be more than welcome and would encourage motorists to use this out-of-the-way parking facility.

On the southern side of the town centre businesses are struggling to make ends meet due to exorbitant business rates, culminating in empty premises and a lack of free car parking. The use of the Claremont car park in line with the Sainsbury’s scheme would deliver another venue and help relieve traffic and parking congestion at Sainsbury’s during peak hours and especially at weekends. It is also no coincidence that edge-of-town and further afield shopping outlets are booming because of free car parking on their sites.

Now is the time for Cherwell District Council to act and introduce two-hour free parking in all their Bicester car parks, as any loss in revenue would be more than compensated by the increase in rental income and business rates, which has been projected to generate a substantial annual income for the council.

The council needs to take decisive action now to support the local economy, people and businesses in order to protect the vitality and viability of our town centre.

Les Sibley
Bicester West