We learned this month of the council’s application to extend the Wincheap park and ride onto the adjoining allotments and down to the river bank, across the footpath that leads to the footbridge over the Stour, and then north eastwards to cover a scrubby field alongside the river, ending roughly opposite where the Whitehall stream enters the Stour (the riverside path crosses this stream on a small bridge with iron railings). This would provide 278 extra parking places.

The council has two reasons for wishing to extend the car park: firstly, the proposed slip-road off the A2 Dover direction will have to run around the edge of the present park and ride which, together with rearrangement of the car park entrance, will mean the loss of some parking places; and secondly, despite pushing through the multi-storey car park scheme in Station Road West, the council wishes to expand the park and ride system to keep more traffic out of the city.

The map below shows the proposed layout. The diagonal line running from top left towards the bottom right is the A2; the river Stour is at the top of the plan, with part of Hambrook Marshes just visible at the extreme top. Halfway down the plan is the present roundabout, where you exit for the park and ride, B&M and Pets at Home. At ten o’clock to that roundabout is the new layout for the park and ride entrance, and then above it is the proposed parking extension, heading straight for the river over the allotments and woodland. The existing footpath to the footbridge crossing can just 2about be made out, snaking its way between parking places. The second part of the extension is to the right of the footpath. Altogether, the extended car park would have a river frontage of about 240 metres. The extension would cover the whole of the green area behind the “Proposed car park” caption on the photo at the top of page one, but would continue further back into woodland not visible in this shot.