The station car park is unlikely to be closed during the flower show if the development gets the go-ahead, the developers have confirmed. This will mean there will be additional car parking capacity during the flower show to that at present.
For the past three years, the station car park has been shut during the flower show, inconveniencing locals, commuters and visitors alike.
Some time ago, the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) decided that visitors from the show should not be queuing on the bridge, part of the public highway, to enter the station. This meant the station car park was taken out of use at a time of most need, and will continue to not be used whilst the site remains undeveloped.
Developers Alexpo and Network Rail have discussed queuing arrangements with South Western Railways (SWR) when the development goes ahead. SWR is likely to use the new public square to queue visitors into the station, thereby allowing the station car park to stay open.
Robert Lane from Alexpo said "I know that the flower show can cause stressful transport concerns for locals, and to have the station car park shut during this time is never helpful. It's great that it's very likely that we can keep the car park open during the flower show once the development is built. This is a win for local people, given it increases car parking capacity during the show.
"Of course, this is just one other benefit of councillors choosing this new scheme over the approved scheme. If we built on the Jolly Boatman site, as the consent allows us to do, then there would be no public square and I have no idea where visitors would queue during the flower show to get onto a train."