Concerns have been raised that a lack of parking spaces could 'wreck' trade in a town.

Chair of the Wantage Chamber of Commerce, Richard Shepherd, raised his concerns over parking in Wantage in a Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Mr Shepherd, managing director of the MotorLux Ford car dealership on Wallingford Street, is concerned that there is not enough parking in the town for visitors with many people forced to park on double yellow lines.

Parking in Wantage is set to be decriminalised from November 1, this means that enforcement will become the responsibility not of the Thames Valley Police, but of the County Council.

Mr Shepherd said: “We are delighted to have the enforcement because it has been an absolute mess in Wantage in terms of the road networks for many years.”

He added: “It does need enforcing, but if we start pushing people out of the town where will they go, there is no parking.”

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He said cars currently parked on single and double yellow lines each weekday would need to be parked elsewhere – taking up spaces from potential customers.

He said that as the population of the town increased with more homes being built, the town had to adapt to welcome them and create parking spaces.

He said: “We have had more houses, which we want, but no infrastructure. Didcot has flourished with their building, but we seem to be left behind.”

He said that if no extra parking was provided in the form of a multi-storey car park, better public transport or even a park and ride, businesses in Wantage will suffer.

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He said: “We will just become a dormant town, people will just somehow park here at night and leave in the daytime. The daytime economy is going to be wrecked.”

He added: "Something has to be done. Without some action, our town will die."

Mr Shepherd has called for the council to provide a strategy to save Wantage businesses.

He said: "A full strategy should now be requested as part of the new local plan – the planners have imposed at least 7,000 new homes and must look at the impact of this on the town centre."

He said the chamber had recently raised the issue with district and county councillors and was pleased with the responses that have been received.

Vale of White Horse District Council said: "Wantage has three car parks in the town which we manage and has space for 189 vehicles.

"There are currently no plans for a multi-storey carpark, which wouldn’t fit with our Corporate Priorities of Tackling the Climate Emergency and building healthy communities."

Oxfordshire County Council said: "Enforcing limited waiting (short stay) bays will benefit businesses as better compliance will increase the turnover of parking and make it more likely that customers will find somewhere to park."

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