The National Flood Forum’s December / Christmas bulletin has just arrived.
Adrian Rosser cycled round the car park at 2pm last Sunday afternoon, 17 December. Here’s what he found.
Oxford Mail story on the upcoming Planning Review.
On the BBC: Oxford park and ride can expand on to green belt
In the Oxford Mail: Councillors race against time to challenge ‘outrageous’ Seacourt approval
12 Oxford City Councillors have successfully asked for the application to be Called-in for consideration by the council’s Planning Review Committee. The next meeting of that committee is (provisionally) on 18 January 2018 so that seems the likely date – but subject to confirmation.
Also in the Oxford Mail re city centre car park charges rising – NB this affects only Worcester St (104 spaces) and Gloucester Green (209). Oxpens (420) and Westgate (1002) are not affected.
We remain strongly opposed to the planning application by Oxford City Council to extend its Seacourt Park and Ride into Oxford’s vital flood plain. There has been a nibble, nibble attrition of the flood plain over many years leading to worse flooding. That the City Council should itself be seeking to extend a car park into the flood plain that protects our city is quite extraordinary.
Here are our latest comments:
Oxfordshire County Council has a useful “flood toolkit” at www.oxfordshirefloodtoolkit.com. The site has a great deal of information on how to prepare for flooding and so on. If you think you might be at risk, take a look.
Fat poured down drains causes fatbergs, solid blockages in the sewers.
Many other things are put down the drains which shouldn’t be and again cause blockages with potential sewer overflow. Such things include wet wipes, tampons, nappies, tights and cotton buds – none of these should be flushed down the loo, they should go into a bathroom bin.
There’s a pdf leaflet with more detail (but alternate pages are upside down as it’s designed to be printed into a foldable leaflet).
We have just sent this to the people on our mailing list:
- As part of the Sponsoring Group, the body representing the various partners in the scheme and having overall responsibility for it.
- Urging that maintenance be provided for in perpetuity rather than just 10 years. We have proposed setting up a dedicated body to be responsible for this; this idea has received good support. We are discussing with the Environment Agency and partners other possible approaches, and if an independent body, what corporate structure might be best.
- We have been working with the Freshwater Habitats Trust and the Environment Agency to try to ensure that the scheme (while it will regrettably involve some environmental losses) can incorporate significant environmental enhancements too, including the important freshwater habitat.
- We are supporting the EA if their efforts to close the funding gap for the scheme – currently at $4m. This money needs to be found by the end of November if the scheme is to go ahead.
- We have participated in a number of public consultation events about the route of the scheme.
Our letter published in the Oxford Times, 29 December 2016
We wrote recently about Oxford City Council’s proposal to extend the Seacourt Park & Ride into the flood plain, providing 658 extra parking spaces.
Now we read that the very same council wishes to abolish 270 parking spaces at Redbridge in order to develop a recycling facility. The core argument put forward by the City Council to justify their proposal at Seacourt is that extra car parking is so badly needed that it should be allowed even though the expansion site is in Green Belt and functional floodplain, and despite the fact that it is clearly contrary to national planning guidance and could put vehicles and people at risk during a flood. The Redbridge plans now make nonsense of the special case being advanced for Seacourt.
If that is not enough, the budget for construction of an extension at Seacourt has recently doubled from about £2 million to £4.1 million. The City Council Executive Board papers for 15 December 2016 show projected net revenue from the Seacourt Park & Ride extension of £160,000 a year, and this relies on an increase in parking charges from £2 to £3 possibly starting in autumn 2017.
At this rate the investment would take more than 25 years to pay back. If this figure assumes that the car park remains fully operational and doesn’t ever flood, when in reality it will do so virtually every year causing closure and expensive maintenance, the payback time will be even longer than 25 years.
We are discussing our concerns with the City Council as we believe that their proposal is ill-conceived and unjustifiable and that it should be abandoned before any more money is spent.