Oxford considering coach parking changes to cope with tourism increase

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A tourism tax and rules about where walking groups can and can’t walk in Oxford could be introduced to deal with growing numbers of visitors, the Oxford Mail reported.

Changes to coach parking locations could also be considered after Oxford City Council said economic growth ‘had brought about its own challenges.’ Council leader Bob Price said ‘guidance on where groups can walk in larger numbers’ was being considered. Liberal Democrat councillors have urged the Labour-led council to develop a ‘tourism policy’ which could see a potential hotel tax brought back to the table.

Lib Dem Cllr, Liz Wade, said: “Oxford is a world-famous city, it is the 11th fastest-growing city in the UK, but is still small in size with 161,000 residents.

“Oxford, not forgetting Bicester Village, is an easy destination, but it already receives seven million tourists each year, which puts a strain on the goodwill of the local population and on the fabric of the city.”

Oxford City Council leader, Bob Price, added: “The opening of Westgate and the plans for two new city centre hotels will cater better than ever for our visitors, but we will have to find better ways of handling the increase in the number of coaches and large walking groups.

“These are the challenges that arise from our success and we are already in discussion with partners about possible solutions.”

Bob said those solutions could be changing the location of coach parking and guidance on where groups can walk in larger numbers.

Coaches are encouraged to park at Redbridge Park & Ride, but there are on-street pick-up and drop-off points in Beaumont Street, outside Oxford Crown Court in St Aldates, and in St Giles.