A WAR of words has erupted over plans to build a car park over a grassy section of Easington Park.

The planning application, submitted by Banbury Town Council, would see 23 parking bays constructed at the end of Harrier View, near the children's play area.

It has received vocal objection from nearby residents including businessman Peter Cheeseman, who last week put 400 letters through nearby doors arguing his case.

But town council leader Kieron Mallon, who represents Easington, said Mr Cheeseman was 'jumping to conclusions'.

The car park is intended for families using the park's two football pitches on Saturdays and Sundays, who currently park in nearby roads.

Mr Cheeseman said he was in 'total agreement' with residents seeking a better solution, but said: "There is a way of overcoming this: double yellow lines or permit parking.

"Residents have suggested that within the contract the council have with the teams, [families should] use the public car parks, rather than putting a car park within a park."

He raised fears about safety from the 'very small, narrow road' proposed as an entrance, and the fact that it passes in front of a school and children's play area.

Other residents, as well as Banbury Civic Society, have also objected to the plans, which have been submitted to planning authority Cherwell District Council.

Civic society chairman Peter Monk wrote that it was 'absolutely wrong' to place the facility next to the play area due to vehicle movement and fumes, adding: "If there are very persuasive arguments for having car parking facilities in the park, they should be as close to the changing rooms as possible.

"These are at the opposite end of the park."

The plans form part of a £350,000 renovation of the 90-year-old park by Banbury Town Council, including new play equipment, changing rooms and football pitches.

The car park would take up four per cent of the total space at Easington Park and would also be used by contractors working on the site, who currently drive across the grass.

Mr Mallon said the surrounding roads, built about 80 years ago, could not cope with the current volume of traffic and he added that it was not viable for families to park in town and walk up to Easington, as they would have to cross both the main Banbury to Oxford road and the A361.

He said: "I can only assume that anyone objecting to this is not fully informed of the correct details and is jumping to conclusions that are not correct.

“It is fairly common knowledge that the car park plan has been on the cards for 15 years or so and is now happening to help residents of Easington Road, Easington Gardens, St George’s Crescent, and Horton View.

"Banbury Town Council always acts responsibly for the benefit of residents. Something had to be done for the people of Easington and this will help residents and park users."

A decision is due to be taken by the district council by June 30.

To view the applications visit cherwell.gov.uk and search for planning reference 17/00997/F.