When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Planning consent sought for Hanborough station car park extension
A NEW car park aimed at stopping rail commuters parking outside West Oxfordshire homes could be completed in six to nine months.
First Great Western has applied for planning permission to create 191 extra spaces to cope with growing demand at Hanborough station on the Cotswold Line.
It won a bid to receive £400,000 funding for the project from the Department for Transport last month.
The plans seek permission to remove industrial buildings on the former Hewden Hire Plant site in Main Road, Long Hanborough, adjacent to the station, to build the car park.
The site was purchased by Blenheim Estates in March.
West Oxfordshire District Council will decide whether to grant planning permission.
In the past five years the number of passengers using the station has grown from 70,500 journeys in 2005-6 to 119,210 in 2010-11. The station’s 50-space car park is often full by 6.45am and dozens of drivers park on the grass verges along Main Road and outside homes.
Colin Dingwall, West Oxfordshire District Council member for Freeland and Hanborough, said: “I am delighted. After four years of hard work and pulling all the various bodies together, it is a fantastic result. It was a great team effort.
“There are more and more cars there every month and the cars parking on verges are almost reaching Long Hanborough village now.
“The new car park will improve safety and make the whole area look a lot tidier. It is good news for everybody.”
First Great Western managing director Mark Hopwood said: “We have a significant programme of station investment and are continually looking for ways to improve the customer experience.
“Whether that is through additional capacity or better facilities at our stations we are willing to make the investment to ensure we offer the best service possible.”
The investment is part of a £100m station commercial projects improvement fund, which was launched by Network Rail, the DfT and the Association of Train Operating Companies in 2011.
Network Rail's western route managing director Patrick Hallgate said: “This is a fantastic example of the rail industry working together to improve the passenger experience at Hanborough without increasing the burden on the taxpayer.”
Work on a similar £470,000 project to build an 83-space extension to the car park at Charlbury station began in June. It is on target to open in early September.
The investment in more than 270 extra car parking spaces at the two stations comes on top of Network Rail's £67m Cotswold Line redoubling project, which saw 20 miles of double track reinstated on the route between Oxford and Worcester to boost capacity and improve punctuality of trains.