‘Uncaring, hard-nosed attitude’

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CALLS for changes to Bicester’s new parking charges are mounting ahead of a review on July 12.

Members of Cherwell District Council’s (CDC) overview and scrutiny committee are set to discuss new charges introduced in April, including those for disabled drivers.

The meeting date was brought forward from the autumn at the request of committee members.

Bicester resident Colin Cockshaw, who was fined after overstaying his permitted time in the Bure Place car park, said he felt the new charging policy “about sums up Cherwell’s current uncaring, hard-nosed attitude to Bicester’s plight”.

He added: “They have shown no concern at all for the situation of Bicester’s local traders and the new car parking regime, discouraging people from coming into Bicester, is a further threat to trade and our town centre.”

Disabled drivers who were caught out by new charges had concerns over the size of penalty fines and a perceived lack of signage.

Buckingham resident Cicely Piggott, who was unaware of the new charges for blue badge holders and got an £80 fine on June 13, said she and her husband had not seen any signs advertising the change.

Mrs Piggott, who is in her late 80s, said: “We feel we are innocent and feel a warning would have been more appropriate.”

And disabled driver Bill Buckland from Buckingham, who was also hit with an £80 fine, asked: “How on earth do you justify that amount?”

He said he would no longer visit Bicester to do his shopping.

Changes introduced across the district on April 4 included new charges for blue badge holders, evenings and bank holidays.

Opposition member of CDC, Councillor Les Sibley, said: “People have said they’ll stay away and they are staying away.

“People are not parking up to do their late-night shopping, and people who might pop in for a meal or take-away might think twice about it now.”

Mr Sibley said three key changes he will call for at the July 12 meeting are the removal of evening parking charges, the repeal of parking charges for blue badge holders, and a reduction in the current £80 penalty charge.