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Ellice Road car park postponed for a year

On Thursday night Tandridge District Council's administration announced that it was postponing the building of the new Ellice Road car park for a year.

It also promised that there would be no increase in shoppers' parking charges and/or reduction of the hour free parking period although it refused to agree to OLRG's request for a two year freeze on any increase until the gasholder and car park developments are completed.

The delay to the car park follows concerns about its viability due to spiralling costs - up from £2.5 million to £4.5 million - and concerns that pressing ahead with it in the New Year at the same time as the gasholder/Johnsdale car park redevelopment, would cause major disruption threatening the livelihoods of local businesses.

At a recent Finance Committee meeting, OLRG Councillor Catherine Sayer and Independent Councillor Kevin Bourne highlighted that the Council's financial modelling for the car park was incorrect and, as a result, the Council had considerably over-estimated the future income to be received. In fact, after paying interest on the money being borrowed to pay for it, the Council would be worse off to the tune of between £80,000 and £120,000 per year.

We are pleased that there is now a commitment not to increase shoppers' parking charges/cut the free parking period but disappointed that no time limit has been agreed and we will keep pressing for a two year freeze.

At Thursday night's meeting, OLRG Councillor Phil Davies said the delay was an opportunity to look at other alternatives - one example being a permanent park and ride scheme for Council staff which would free up the Council car park for shoppers and those using the health centre.

The full debate can be seen on the Council's webcast click here - see item 5.12 minutes of Finance Committee - 22.11.18


5 December 2018

Ellice Road car park - latest information

We have been receiving a lot of queries about what is happening over the new Ellice Road car park in Oxted, construction of which is due to start next month.

These are what we now understand to be the facts:

The cost of building the new car park has increased from £2.5 million to £4.5 million pounds.

Overall, there will be 8 fewer shoppers' spaces in the town than before the changes to the car park began.

The Council plans to increase the annual cost of business permits from £546.50 to £800 for an ordinary permit and £1,000 for a premium permit.

At a recent Finance Committee meeting, OLRG Councillor Catherine Sayer and Independent Councillor Kevin Bourne highlighted that the Council's financial modelling was incorrect and, as a result, the Council had considerably over-estimated the future income to be received.

We estimate that after paying interest on the money being borrowed to build the new car park, the Council will be worse off to the tune of between £80,000 and £120,000 per year.

To make up for this, we are very concerned that the Council may increase parking charges for shoppers and/or cut the free parking period from an hour. We continue to believe either of these would be severely detrimental to our local businesses.

You may remember that when parking charges for shoppers were first brought in, the Council proposed to limit the free period to half an hour and also to charge on Saturdays and it was because of strong opposition from what was then the Oxted Traders Association and OLRG, together with a petition signed by 5,435 residents, that this did not happen. OLRG will strenuously resist any attempt to change the current charging regime.

OLRG and Independent Councillors will be pursuing the matter at tonight's full Council meeting and at another meeting being held next Tuesday both of which will be webcast starting at 7.30pm.

More information can be seen on this Finance Committee meeting webcast click here -- see item 10, Ellice Road car park