Seacourt P&R extension – work halted

Make of this what you will – what is going on?….

https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/17269391.park-and-ride-expansion-work-stopped-and-its-unclear-when-it-will-restart

“In papers, the council said it has stopped the work because it wants to get it ‘right’.”

Rather suggests they were getting it wrong (we’d agree with that).

From the agenda pack of the meeting of Oxford City Council’s Finance Panel of the Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 6 December:

[p. 17] “7. Direct Services Client – £0.494 million adverse variance arising from a decline in car parking income. It was originally envisaged that visitor numbers travelling into the city by car would significantly increase with the opening of Westgate and City Council car parks would benefit, however any increased business together with existing business appears to have gone to the Westgate car park. Worcester Street and Oxpens car park are both seeing a decline in usage which is having a significant impact on income.” 

[p. 18-19] “10. A thorough review has been made of the Capital Programme as at the end of September 2018 and this has led to a significant amount of slippage into future years. The projected outturn on the Capital Programme is currently a favourable variance of £15.945 million against the latest budget of £109.665 million. The main variances are:….. 

  • Extension of Seacourt Park and Ride – £3.217 million is to be slipped, this is the remaining balance of funding. It is important to get the detail of this project right and it is unlikely that works will commence in this financial year.”

 

 

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Seacourt P&R extension site flooded

The site of the planned extension to Seacourt park and ride has been partially flooded for several days, today being the worst so far.

 

Seacourt – Possible Costs

This seems a potentially costly proposal.

Capital 

1) Present budget £4.1 million

2) Difficulty of building in low-lying ground with a high groundwater level in winter

3) Possible need to stabilise unstable ground by treating it with lime to a metre depth

4) Difficulties of creating a working SuDS in a flood plain

Income

5) Occupancy likely to be low

6) Periodically out of use due to groundwater and fluvial flooding, pumping out, repair and maintenance

Maintenance

7) Pumping out (will be required according to the Applicant)

8) Repair of damage to surfaces and buildings – may be extensive after major floods

9) Cleaning and restoration of the porous surfaces required for SuDS

Other

Given the risks associated with large floods and the likely depths and flow rates here, possibly

  • compensation for damage to vehicles, including any swept away
  • compensation for loss of life.

No need – car park occupancy today (8 December)

Click table and images to enlarge.

Plenty of empty parking spaces again in and around Oxford today, now 16 shopping days to Christmas.

There is NO NEED for any more spaces.

 

 

Seacourt: an Important Habitat

Thanks to the Oxfordshire Badger Group for this video, showing the importance of this habitat and what has recently been done to it by Oxford City Council – it is shocking and utterly wrong.

See more on the officially designated wildlife status of the site.

Expensive

An article in today’s online Oxford Mail – £400,000 has already been spent in consultancy fees and other expenses on this unnecessary plan. If it goes ahead the present budget is over £4 million, a lot of public money to no good purpose.

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/15705321.Revealed__more_than___400_000_spent_on_building_Seacourt_expansion_case/#comments-anchor

Car park usage today, 3 December

There were plenty of empty spaces in both city centre car parks and park and rides.

Click table to enlarge.

 

Objecting to Seacourt P&R extension – our latest comments

 

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:

OFA comments on FRA Nov 2017 Final

OFA comment on PS Addendum Nov 2017 Final

Redbridge vs. Seacourt P&R from south + Maps

Letter to EA 30 November 2017_final

Lime stabilization considerations Nov17

OFA objections to revised Seacourt P&R FRA

We have submitted our comments on the revised Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) submitted by the Applicant, Oxford City Council, as part of its application to extend Seacourt Park and Ride into the floodplain north of the Botley Road, Oxford. It seems that this is being proposed as a panic response to a perceived lack of parking for the new city-centre Westgate development – that development has been known about for years and this application is evidence of a failure to plan properly for it.

We are opposed to this application on flood risk grounds and do not believe that the FRA gives a proper assessment of the risks.

The application is contrary to national planning advice and if allowed would set a most serious precedent nationally. Despite being asked, the Applicant has failed to supply a single example of where a similar development has been allowed,  in Flood Zone 3(b) – the floodplain proper, elsewhere.

There are risks of both groundwater and river (fluvial) flooding of this particularly low-lying site. We are not satisfied that the development, in the floodplain, would not increase risk elsewhere. It would put vehicles, and more importantly people, at risk during flood events: in a very big flood the water could be 2 metres deep and flowing fast. Washed away cars could block the nearby river (whether this is the existing channel or the proposed Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme channel) and bridge, preventing water getting away from the Botley Road area and making flooding there worse.

The car park is likely to be particularly expensive to build as the ground is inherently unstable and will almost certainly need special ‘lime stabilisation’.

It would be unusable during floods and require protracted pumping out and clean up afterwards – expensive in itself and losing revenue while the car park was closed.

It’s our view that the need for for this extension has not  been demonstrated, nor the economic case made. It could easily prove a costly white elephant, an embarrassment to the Council, an extra expense on a already strained public purse, and a risk to public safety.

Oxford is subject to regular and damaging flooding – its floodplain should never be a place for a car park. For its own City Council to be proposing such a thing is hard to understand. When this was first proposed the same Council was simultaneously proposing to remove a large number of spaces at Redbridge P&R a mere 3 miles away – whether that is still the case we do not know but it does rather suggest a lack of co-ordinated planning.

We hope Oxford City councillors will see that this idea is a disaster in the making and show their good sense in abandoning it.

The many objections to the proposal can be seen on the Oxford City Council planning website (search for Seacourt) https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20066/planning_applications/328/view_and_comment_on_planning_applications

Our own recent objection is also here as a pdf.