Extra deck planned for Harpenden station car park

Network Rail is keen to build a car parking deck similar to the one at Waitrose, Welwyn Garden City,

Network Rail is keen to build a car parking deck similar to the one at Waitrose, Welwyn Garden City, at Harpenden station - Credit: Photos supplied

PROBLEMS with rail commuters hogging car parking spaces in residential roads near Harpenden station could be resolved after Network Rail confirmed expansion plans.

A spokeswoman said the railway network authority is pursuing a scheme to create an additional 200 parking bays at Harpenden through construction of a single deck above the existing east side car park.

She added: “This is good news for passengers as we know there is a high demand for spaces. We are currently working on our plans and will be in discussion with the local authority.”

However St Albans district councillor for Harpenden East Mike Wakely wrote to First Capital Connect (FCC) about residents’ fears that the proposed deck will be “an ugly galvanised one similar to Berkhamsted’s.”

Cllr Wakely said that residents had “acknowledged the need for the new car park” but wanted to know when the scheme would go to planning.

The Network Rail spokeswoman told the Herts Advertiser that the scheme was still being prepared and was not yet ready for submission.

The project is being led by Network Rail, which is working closely with FCC on the scheme.

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A spokesman for FCC explained that the council had initially raised the possibility of the need for the new deck because of residents’ complaints about the station car park being full by 8.30am.

He added: “It has been impacting upon local residents, and some people are parking and walking from a mile away, which is irritating people. Also, they want to preserve the town centre parking for shoppers.”

The spokesman said that residents need not worry about the design, as it would be similar to the deck at the Waitrose car park in Welwyn Garden City.

He added: “It looks right and it sits well within its surroundings. We hope to achieve something similar in Harpenden.”

Chris Marsden, chairman of the Harpenden Society, said while the organisation was not against the project in principle, it could not comment further until members had seen drawings.

Work to improve the main car park at the train station was completed a year ago, to accommodate about 460 vehicles on the east side.

The west side, which has 245 spaces, was also resurfaced last year.