Wincheap Park & Ride plans

The story so far…

The proposals

Canterbury City Council submitted a planning application in January 2019 to extend the Wincheap Park and Ride car park down to the river, opposite to Hambrook Marshes (outlined in red). The plan would mean building on Wincheap Water Meadow, part of the floodplan of the River Stour, which is part of a designated Local Wildlife Site in an Area of High Landscape Value and a Green Corridor.

Area where the proposed car park will be

LHM objections

Love Hambrook Marshes is the charity that owns and looks after the land opposite the proposed car park extension. While the trustees of Love Hambrook Marshes support the council’s laudable aim of keeping traffic out of the centre of Canterbury through the provision of park and ride schemes, we strongly object to the application on the following grounds:

Landscape and visual impact

  • The scheme conflicts with the council’s own designation of the area as part of the Stour Valley Area of High Landscape Value.
  • The footpath from Toddlers’ Cove to Hambrook Marshes is the only public access into the countryside from the city and should be cherished.
  • The proposed development would be visually intrusive, destroying visitors’ illusion of being in open countryside.
  • Hambrook Marshes is a semi-wild green lung on the outskirts of Canterbury. In 2014 it was acquired by a local benefactor without any financial support from the council, and with the aim of maintaining it as open space with wildlife interest for the benefit of the local community. It would be a travesty for the council to now support a proposal that has complete disregard for the local benefactor’s extraordinary goodwill gesture, and which would compromise the public’s enjoyment of Hambrook Marshes.
  • Proposed screening would be inadequate to hide the sight and sound of the car park, or to prevent significant light pollution from spilling out at night from 10-metre tall lamp posts.

Ecological

  • The Local Plan identifies this part of the Stour Valley as an important green corridor into the city, but the proposal would create a serious break in this green link. It is also designated as a Local Wildlife Site.
  • 127 trees would be removed, and only 35 retained whole or in part. Some of the trees to be removed are along the south bank, providing shade and cooler water for fish.
  • There would be a loss of general wildlife habitat. The Environment Agency has objected to the application on all the above ecological grounds.
  • Pollutants from the car park would enter directly into the river.

Flooding

  • The council has a presumption against development on floodplains, so this proposal breaches its own policy. The development would reduce the site’s ability to absorb water and lead to excess water entering the river more rapidly, causing floodwater to move more rapidly towards vulnerable areas of Canterbury.

Timeline

Jan 2019
Canterbury City Council submits planning application for extension to Wincheap Park and Ride.

June 2019
Council approves plan for a new nature reserve adjacent to the proposed car park extension.

Aug 2019
Planning application is resubmitted, with fewer parking spaces and a buffer zone between the car park and the river.

Sept 2019
Over 900 objections to the application have been submitted by the closing date.

Oct 2019
Council Planning Committee approves the application, but submission to full council deferred.

Nov 2019
CPRE Kent applies for a judicial review, claiming council’s failure to follow due process.

Dec 2019
Judicial review granted, so council decision must wait until case determined.

May 2020
The Park and Ride extension, along with various other large projects, is in qustion due to Covid-19’s impact on the council’s finances. The judicial review deadline is extended to Feb 2021 while Highways England assess the safety of the A2 slip road that the scheme is part of.

Key documents

The full proposals and all related documents are on the Canterbury City Council Planning website case reference 18/02551 “Proposed extension to existing park and ride facility to provide an additional 228 parking spaces, replacement terminal building, reconfiguration to access, together with fencing, lighting, landscaping and cycle storage” | Wincheap Park & Ride Ten Perch Road Canterbury CT1 3TQ

Announcement of the Canterbury City Council Park and Ride expansion proposals as reported in Kent Online includes map and outline of main proposals 26 January 2019

Decision granting approval of the planning application signed by the head of planning on 16 October 2019

  

How you can help

Please respond to the Council’s consultation on its new Local Plan and emphasise the importance of protecting Wincheap Water Meadows and the adjacent wet woodland as an integral part of the Stour valley upstream of Canterbury – closing date 30 September 2020

NEWS UPDATES

  • PARK AND RIDE PLANNING APPLICATION REVOKED
    As we reported on October 10th, Canterbury City Council has been forced to withdraw its own planning permission for a £3.6 million expansion of the Wincheap park and ride on to the water meadows opposite Hambrook Marshes. However, while it is encouraging that the council has been forced, somewhat ignominiously, to withdraw its plans, what we have now is not…
  • BREAKING NEWS: COUNCIL WITHDRAWS WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE PLANS
    Canterbury City Coucil issued a statement on 9th October, announcing the withdrawal of their current plan for the extension of the Wincheap Park and Ride. “We have been informed by Highways England that their experts cannot sign off the design of the A2 off-slip at Wincheap which was submitted as part of the planning permission for the Thanington Park development.…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE SEPT 2020
    There’s an interesting article in the 17th September issue of the Kentish Gazette about the new council leader, Ben Fitter-Harding. Encouragingly, he alludes to his thoughts on the proposed extension to the Wincheap park and ride: “With the park and ride, I’ve always been sympathetic with the campaigners. It’s difficult as I want the city to function in the best…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE JULY 2020
    This sorry tale rumbles on, albeit in first gear during covid restrictions. The City Council applied to the Countryside Charity CPRE (Kent) for a further delay to the judicial review into the park and ride extension. This is due in part to Highways England still not having decided whether the proposed layout of the off-slip road through the existing park…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE JUNE 2020
    A short piece in the Kentish Gazette (2nd July) unveils the council’s plans for a local nature reserve on the land immediately downstream of the proposed park and ride extension. However, the £50,000 needed to create a flower-rich meadow, wet woodland, two new ponds and an artificial otter holt would have to come out of the park and ride budget.…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE MAY 2020
    Major projects such as the proposed relocation of council offices and St George’s Street improvements are now in doubt due to the impact of lockdown. The planned extension of the park and ride onto the water meadow opposite Hambrook Marshes may also have to be scrapped or delayed, although part of the cost of the project is due to be…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE FEB 2020
    Canterbury City Council’s planning committee’s decision to approve a highly controversial application to extend the Wincheap Park & Ride onto water meadows next to the river Stour is being challenged in the courts by the countryside charity CPRE Kent with the support of the Save Wincheap Water Meadows campaign. The council is now considering possible alternatives but we need to…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE JAN 2020
    The campaign to prevent the extension of the Wincheap Park and Ride onto the Wincheap Water Meadows, across the river from Hambrook Marshes, is still active. Canterbury City Council has not yet made its final decision on whether to go ahead with building the car park, but a judge has given permission for a Judicial Review of CCC planning committee’s…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE DEC 2019
    The final decision on the fate of the park and ride extension has had to be set back yet again, this time because the council cannot rule on the proposal until the application for a judicial review has been heard. This is being contested by the council’s lawyers, who also argue that the applicants’ liability for legal costs should be…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE NOV 2019
    The countryside charity, CPRE Kent, has initiated a legal challenge against the Council’s planning application to build a car park on the meadows. The Save Wincheap Water Meadows campaign has promised to raise £5000 by 6th January in support of CPRE’s challenge. A crowdfunding page has been set up to raise this money. Please consider making a contribution. There will…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE OCT 2019
    The application to extend the park and ride was approved at the planning committee stage on 15th October, but a decision by the full council two days later on whether or not to approve that decision had to be deferred, thanks to an intervention by Cllr Nick Eden-Green. At some point the application will return to the council, but we…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE SEPT 2019
    About 900 objections were submitted to the council in total before the deadline for comments. However, more excellent letters have been published this month in the Gazette, and an event on 5th on Hambrook Marshes, opposite the proposed car park site, was highly successful, with around 50 people taking part, generating another article in our local paper. Large, colourful cutouts…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE AUG 2019
    The council has resubmitted its planning proposal for an extension to the Wincheap Park and Ride. The scheme is essentially the same, except that the buffer between the car park and the river has been doubled in width to 16 metres. This means that about 50 fewer parking spaces will now be available on the meadow opposite Hambrook, but our…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE JUNE 2019
    At a meeting of the council’s Regeneration and Property committee on 27th June, approval was given to the latest plan to turn the land lying to the north east of the proposed car park extension into a nature reserve. Depending on your inclination, this can be viewed as a bribe or a concession to those of us who submitted objections…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE MARCH 2019
    We received an encouraging amount of support in the Gazette during March, with two letters published from Love Hambrook Marshes trustees. Additionally, one local resident’s letter queried the council spokesman’s claim that the new location for the extension had already been approved in the Local Plan. Another reminded us that in 2009 consultants commissioned by the council had recommended the…
  • WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE EXTENSION UPDATE FEB 2019
    Many thanks to everyone who has sent objections to this plan via the council’s website or written to the Kentish Gazette. So far about 450 comments have been received, of which only one, we believe, is in favour of the proposal. On 21st February the Gazette printed an article which was, in effect, the council’s response to our objection, headlining…
  • PROPOSED EXTENSION TO WINCHEAP PARK AND RIDE ANNOUNCED
    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…