LIBERAL Democrat and Green city councillors in Oxford have renewed criticism of council leaders over a loss of car parking revenue.

Earlier this month it emerged that the council took £494,000 less than it expected between April and June because fewer drivers used its city centre car parks than predicted.

Revenue from Oxpens and Worcester Street car parks was particularly badly hit.

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This has attracted criticism from Liberal Democrat and Green city councillors opposed to Westgate Centre owners being allowed to set their own competitive parking charges at the £440m complex.

The Lib Dems and Greens said the decision has undermined income generated at city council car park.

Green group leader Craig Simmons “This is corporate welfare - a hidden subsidy to the Westgate at the expense of frontline council services. Labour ignored all warnings that this would happen.”

Lib Dem Group Leader Andrew Gant said: “This is a double-whammy of failures by the Labour city council. It is encouraging car use in our congested city centre by allowing Westgate to use pricing to attract people to drive in.”

Herald Series:

Ed Turner, executive board member for finance and asset management said: “This is a three-fold success story – footfall in the city centre is up eight per cent over the past half-year, we are getting more than £3m annually from the lease with Westgate, on top of extra business rates income, and many shoppers are choosing to come into the city by train, park and ride or bike, rather than car.

“ We expect to see a continued reduction in city centre car park use, where Oxpens tariffs are matched with Westgate’s, and an increase in the use of park-and-ride.”