Wokingham Borough Council plans to create extra parking in the town centre this spring and summer to help alleviate the effects of South West Trains closing its Wokingham Station car park.
The borough council has no control over the timing and building of the train company’s new upper deck at the station car park, so has been looking at ways of temporarily creating additional capacity in the Paddocks and Wellington Road car parks to help offset some of the 200 train parking spaces being lost.
The council also plans this summer to improve the Elms Road multi-storey to encourage more people to use it. There are currently some 180 spaces available.
And the council is rescheduling its work programme for the new multi-storey at Carnival Pool so the current car park with 165 spaces can stay open until June to help alleviate the station car park closure.
To free up 96 spaces in the Paddocks car park for the public the council hopes to temporarily use the former tennis and basketball courts on Elms Field for council staff parking. Access to the temporary car park on the courts would be via the Paddocks, but for this to work four trees must be removed – and before the end of February to avoid the nesting season.
The council must first submit a change of use planning application for the courts if they are to be used as a temporary car park. It has to be done immediately for any chance of the site being ready in time. If planning is agreed, it would only be used weekdays by borough council staff with purchased parking permits.
As part of the Carnival Pool project, the council also plans in April to open the Wellington House car park as a temporary short stay pay-and-display. However the upper level of 59 spaces will be set aside for council staff with purchased parking permits until 3pm weekdays. The public can use it after that time and all day weekends. The lower level of 35 spaces will be open to the public at all times.
“We tried but our discussions with South West Trains about the timing of their work and providing alternative facilities for their customers were sadly unsuccessful,” said Cllr John Kaiser, executive member for planning and highways.
“Around 200 of their customers will be affected by the station car park closing. So we’re trying to minimise this impact on the town, as quickly and simply as we can. The four trees being felled for the Elms Field courts parking have been surveyed and aren’t high quality. They are classified as Category C trees; Category A is best.
“Car parks in the south of the town are already well used in the week; particularly at peak times. We hope some of South West Trains’ customers will find alternative ways to get to Wokingham Station or use other stations where there’s parking space, such as Bracknell.
“For people travelling to into Reading our Mereoak Park and Ride would be very useful.”
South West Trains says it plans to close the main car park at Wokingham Station on 28 March. It says most of the smaller car park will stay open but will be dedicated to season ticket parking holders only.