Sunday, 29 March 2020

Council continues effort to buy Salt Store for parking

SECURITY measures would have to be put in place if a piece of land in Benson was turned into a car park.

The Salt Store, off St Helen’s Avenue, is owned by Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, and was used to tip road sweepings until it was turned into a green space.

It is predicted that the land will be needed for car parking by the year 2025 due to the hundreds of new homes being built in the village. Benson Parish Council is in discussion with the county council about possibly buying or taking out a long-term lease on the plot.

It would prefer the land to remain a green space and be used for parking, for which it was allocated in the Benson neighbourhood plan.

But Councillor Teresa McTeague said: “If it was a car park it would be liable to vandalism. We would need lighting to encourage people to go there.” She said that nobody used the land to park unless there was “absolutely nowhere else”.

Parish clerk Elizabeth Stanley has asked the county council how much it would charge in rent and how long the lease would be.

She stressed that the parish council’s preference would be to buy the land with income from the Community Infrastructure Levy paid by developers.

Parish council chairman Bill Pattison told a meeting that discussions were continuing.

Last year, Benson scout group leader Martin Lock asked the parish council about the possibility of building the new hut at the Salt Store but the idea was ruled out.

Dave Rushton, a former vice-chairman of the council, said the neighbourhood plan was supposed to prevent speculative development and the council shouldn’t go against its own policies.

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