Agenda item

Questions from County Councillors

Any County Councillor may, by giving notice to the Proper Officer by 9.00 am two working days before the meeting, ask a question on any matter in respect of the Cabinet Member’s delegated powers.


The number of questions which may be asked by any Councillor at any meeting is limited to two or one question with notice and a supplementary question at the meeting. The time for questions will be limited to 30 minutes. As with Questions at Full Council, any questions which remain unanswered at the end of this Item will receive a written response.


Questions submitted prior to the agenda being despatched are shown below and will be the subject of a response from the appropriate Cabinet Member or other councillor or officer determined by the Cabinet Member. Such Questions shall not be the subject of debate at this meeting. Questions received after the despatch of the agenda, but before the deadline for the receipt of Questions, will be shown on the Schedule of Addenda circulated at the meeting, together with the written response if one is available.



Councillor Dan Levy


Oxfordshire County Council is considering the termination of its contract with West Oxfordshire District Council for on-street parking enforcement in West Oxfordshire.  Can Cllr Bearder please detail when this notice is likely to be given and when it will come into force, outline how it will ensure that on-street enforcement in the future is much better than it currently is in places where it is required like Eynsham and Woodstock, and confirm that WODC will continue to control pricing and enforcement in its off-street car parks, such as the ones in Witney. 


Response from Cabinet Member for Highway Management

A decision to end the agency arrangement with West Oxfordshire will be made by Cabinet in March 2022. If approved, notice will be given to West Oxfordshire District Council providing the 12 months’ notice required by the agency agreement. Oxfordshire County Council would then take over the enforcement of on-street parking on 1 April 2023.

Members may recall that the County Council successfully applied to the Department for Transport to extend the existing civil parking enforcement arrangements to encompass Cherwell, South and Vale District Councils in 2021, and this came into operation on 1 November 2021. As a result, we have civil parking enforcement powers across the whole of the County together with a single service provider, Conduent Public Sector Services Limited, providing feet on the ground enforcement in all areas except West Oxfordshire. Officers consider the benefits of ending the agency agreement to be:

·       Clarity and single organisation for members of the public and users of the network to contact about on-street parking within Oxfordshire.

·       Consistency of approach, resilience, and coverage in terms of enforcement levels and deployment.

·       A single back-office system serving all areas of the county providing economies of scale and resilience to deal with varying workload demands.

·       Implement intelligent deployment via data driven deployment plans and introduce new technologies to enhance the on-street and back-office service.

·       An additional benefit would be the alignment and operation as a single enforcement service, if the application to enforce moving traffic offences is approved.  

I can confirm that these changes only effect on-street (highway) parking and do not affect off-street parking or pricing of public car parks operated by West Oxfordshire District Council (or any of the public car parks in any of the other district areas).

Cllr Levy mentions Woodstock and Eynsham in particular. I can confirm that Officers have been working with Woodstock Town Council, West Oxfordshire District Council, Councillor Andy Graham, and other interested parties to bring in a scheme to better manage the parking situation in Woodstock. This scheme involves introducing controlled parking zones (resident parking) combined with joint usage for on-street visitor parking and resident parking in the centre of the town together with an element of on-street pay and display parking to support the turnover of parking spaces which supports the local economy. Informal consultation on the scheme has proved positive and the scheme will go forward for full public consultation in the near future.

Should Cabinet approve the ending of the agency agreement with WODC, Officers will use the 12-month notice period to prepare intelligent data led deployment plans with Conduent to ensure that parking enforcement continues to support the overall objectives of the County Council both in terms of thriving communities and managing the network, creating the correct balance of resident, visitor, and commercial parking to maximise the benefits to local communities and the travelling public.


Supplementary Question

In response to a supplementary question about suggestions that the proposal to terminate the on-street parking enforcement contract with West Oxford District Council was an attack on the free parking in car parks in Witney and other locations in West Oxfordshire, Councillor Bearder stated that he was aware that there was a petition relating to this proposal which, given that there were local elections pending, he believed politically motivated and an attempt to deflect attention from the poor performance in relation to parking enforcement.

Councillor Bearder went on to say that he had no power to change the rules relating to car parks in West Oxfordshire and any decision to end the current on-street car parking enforcement contract would only be taken with the consent of the local community.