Disability group says 200-space station car park plan is '˜illegal'
PLANS for a new 200-space railway station car park have come in for strong criticism from a disability group.
South West Trains is building a two-storey car park in the grounds of Havant station.
Under the Town and Country Planning Act, the company does not need permission from Havant Borough Council, but the authority can step in if planners think the building should be built elsewhere.
But Andrew Bundy, from Havant Area Disability Access Group, said in a letter to the council that it does not meet access requirements and is not needed.
He said: ‘There are many other local railway stations in far greater need of parking than Havant.
‘Indeed, a recent parking review exercise for Havant did not highlight any requirement for increased parking.’
He believes the access to the ground floor was too steep for disabled access and added: ‘With respect to the amenity, there is no provision for access to the upper deck for disabled people.
‘This is discrimination under the Equality Act (2010) and is thus illegal.’
And Bradley Smith, who lives in nearby Centenary Gardens, has objected on the grounds the development will obscure the view from his house.
But not everyone is against the plans. Charlotte Crawford-Ramage, from Hayling Island, said: ‘I use the car park fairly regularly and I do struggle to find a space.
‘Usually I have to drive round until someone leaves.
‘I think it will be a good thing for the town to get more car parking spaces.
‘And it will encourage more people to leave their cars here and take the train instead.’
Donald West, who lives in Waterloo Road, which runs parallel to the existing car park, said: ‘We do need more parking around here.
‘That one is always busy. I often see people parking there on a Sunday, even though they can park for free at the council car park.’
The News contacted South West Trains regarding Mr Bundy’s claims and it said all blue badge parking would be on the ground floor, so there should not be any issues with access. In a statement a spokesman said more than 2.3m passengers used Havant railway station last year.
They added: ‘We are currently working with Network Rail and Havant Borough Council to create the best possible improvements for passengers.
‘We hope to start work this summer and expect to finish by the end of the year.
‘We will keep passengers and stakeholders informed throughout the process and look forward to providing further details in due course.’
They said 1,400 extra car parking spaces are being created across the network.