Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Residents angered by business parking

LARGE commercial vehicles are being unlawfully stored overnight on a Woodcote street, claim residents.

LARGE commercial vehicles are being unlawfully stored overnight on a Woodcote street, claim residents.

Householders in Greenmore say 20 or more cars, vans and lorries belonging to businesses are often parked there, sometimes for several days at a time.

Low-loader trucks carrying vehicles have been left on several occasions, blocking driveways.

Residents say this narrows the road to a single lane and makes it hard for drivers travelling in opposite directions to pass each other.

The vehicles are often parked on either side of the street so drivers must weave around them.

Residents fear there could be an accident as speeding is a problem in Greenmore and there is a sharp bend as it heads south towards Goring Heath.

They say businesses on the nearby Wards Farm industrial estate are to blame because it is at capacity so work spills over into Greenmore.

The issue was first reported to Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, in 2014 but no enforcement action has been taken.

Brian Atkin, who lives next to the estate, said he and his neighbours were compiling a photographic record to send to the council and Thames Valley Police.

He said an elderly friend was grabbed by the lapels and threatened by a workman after photographing him. He called police and the man was arrested and cautioned.

Mr Atkin said: “This has been going on for at least two years and it’s getting worse the more they realise they can get away with it.

“I’m directly affected as I often have these huge vehicles parked right outside my house. It looks like their on-site parking is all taken up by commercial work. The estate is overcrowded and overflowing.

“I’ve seen workmen unloading heavy steel sections in Greenmore with an unregistered fork-lift truck, which blocked the entire road for a good 10 or 15 minutes.

“It’s totally unsatisfactory as we feel like we’re living on an industrial estate.

“The planning permission states very clearly that Wards Farm must leave space for on-site parking and not carry out work beyond its boundaries.

“The council may be under-resourced but this should be treated as a priority because it poses a danger.

“I have no problem with the estate itself as it provides employment, but it must stick to its planning conditions.

“It is deeply frustrating that nothing has been done and it shouldn’t fall to us to chase it up.”

Woodcote Parish Council also complained two years ago and plans to protest again.

Deputy chairman Geoff Botting said: “We are totally behind the residents of Greenmore and something needs to be done. It is a dangerous piece of road.”

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, said the estate was not obliged to provide on-site parking. This had been a planning condition but was no longer enforceable because businesses had been breaking it for years without complaint.

James Scott, a member of the Ward’s Farm management committee, said: “We do realise that it is a problem and we will work to see if we can reduce the amount of vehicles, although I don’t think we could stop it from happening completely — it is just getting out of hand.”

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