‘Inconsistent and unfair’: Massive car firm likely to avoid parking tax

Oxfordshire County Council plans to roll out a workplace parking levy in Oxford which will charge medium-large businesses for staff parking places at their premises.

But county council deputy leader and Green cabinet member Pete Sudbury has said he believes the charge will only apply “inside the Ring Road” meaning the BMW Mini Plant, which falls just outside, likely won’t be affected.

Oxford Mail: Oxford Mini Plant.Oxford Mini Plant. (Image: Ed Nix)

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Temple Cowley ward councillor Saj Malik said: “It is inconsistent and unfair.

“They’ve been left out but others such as doctors and nurses will have to pay.”

Mr Sudbury said: “BMW is a fantastic employer.

Oxford Mail: Pete Sudbury.Pete Sudbury. (Image: Newsquest)

“They are pushing hard on switching to electric vehicles.”

A county council spokesman has confirmed WPL proposals are at an early stage and no concrete decisions have been taken.

News about the parking charge comes after Oxford City Council excused the Mini Plant from an £800k community infrastructure levy (CIL) this week.

Questions were raised over why the move had been taken in light of the council’s ethos of encouraging people out of their cars.

Mr Malik, who prefaced his comments by saying “obviously the mini plant contributes to employment” and “Oxford is very proud of our car history and it continues the contribution”, said: “An 800k exemption is not consistent with our policy across the board.

Oxford Mail: Saj Malik.Saj Malik. (Image: Oxford City Council.)

“As far as I am concerned BMW is thriving and not in any financial difficulty so why should they be let off that amount, which should have come into the community?”

An Oxford City Council spokesman has said BMW’s new car line will result in job opportunities both directly at the plant and within the supply chain.

BMW had been granted planning permission for a new factory which attracted the CIL.

Oxford Mail: BMW Mini Plant in Oxford.BMW Mini Plant in Oxford. (Image: BMW Group.)

He added: “BMW sought an exemption from the CIL under the Council’s Discretionary Exceptional Circumstances Relief Policy.

“Given the balance with ensuring the economic viability of the proposal, and the importance of securing the continued presence of BMW in Oxford, Cabinet approved the award of Discretionary Exceptional Circumstances Relief.”

Lubna Arshad, who represents the Temple Cowley ward, said: “This is the appropriate course of action to take.

Oxford Mail: Lubna Arshad.Lubna Arshad. (Image: Oxford City Council.)

“Consider the vast number of individuals employed by BMW and the numerous smaller businesses that support its operations.

“Reflect on the significant economic impact of the Mini plant on the local community, akin to the role of a local authority.”

Green councillor Emily Kerr, of the St Mary’s ward, added: “I’m thrilled that BMW are investing to transform the plant to make electric vehicles and safeguard Oxford jobs.

Oxford Mail: Emily Kerr.Emily Kerr. (Image: Oxford City Council.)

“The BMW lawyers were able to successfully argue for the £800k exemption, which is regrettable: £800k would be a huge investment in BMW’s local community – which desperately needs it.”

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