Plans to expand the Guildenford public car park in Burford have been refused for the second time.
Planning permission was refused last year for a similar scheme which aimed to expand the 167-space car park into a neighbouring field to provide space for around 150 more vehicles.
Plans included two new footbridges, one alongside the existing road bridge and the second leading into the churchyard across the millstream.
The Burford Town Council project was rejected by West Oxfordshire District Council’s Uplands Planning sub-committee due to the application having no material changes.
The proposed car park extension would be situated on a water-meadow adjacent to the River Windrush close to the grade I listed Church of St John the Baptist within the Burford Conservation Area and the Cotswolds AONB.
Historic England said it had concerns and commented: “The church of St John the Baptist is one of the grandest of the grandest Cotswolds churches on one of its prettiest towns and the view from the east of its handsome tower and spire rising above meadows and trees is lovely and should be treasured.
“Extending the car park would seriously compromise this view, harming the significance of the church.”
The Environment Agency said the proposed development is on a floodplain with a flood risk vulnerability category that is inappropriate.
Thirteen letters were received objecting to the application; 27 letters in support.
Burford town councillor and district councillor Derek Cotterill said: “The car park refusal really kills the project. The objections by the Environment Agency and Historic England are insurmountable. Also the Town Council does not have the funds to supply all the detailed and extensive reports by expert consultants that the planning officer asked for.
“The Town Council is funded by the residents of Burford through their council tax, £70,000 per annum total, and the car park extension would have been for the benefit of visitors and tourists. The expansion to the existing car park would be logical, and there is no other site in Burford, as that is where WODC built their original car park which floods annually – no big deal.”
He added: “This situation does present a problem to WODC because their surveys show 200 extra off-street parking spaces are needed and that requirement is in the infrastructure to be provided by 2024. The Local Plan 2031 states that WODC will provide parking to support Burford High Street but how are they going to do it?
“They will fail on plan provisions.”
WODC said: “Through the West Oxfordshire Local Plan we recognise the need to increase parking capacity in Burford to support the Town Centre. We will continue to work with the local community to identify a suitable solution that works for the local area and the local community.”
Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on email@example.com or 01865 425 445.