Campaign against marshland park and ride extension gathers pace

The Hambrook Marshes lie to the west of Canterbury (stock image)

Residents continue to oppose the planned extension of a Park and Ride scheme into the wild life area by the River Stour where Sidney Cooper painted his famous pictures and which walkers and cyclists use to reach Chartham on the waterside path.

If it goes ahead, the scheme will add 278 parking spaces to the Wincheap Park and Ride as well as a “replacement terminal building, reconfiguration to access, together with fencing, lighting, landscaping and cycle storage”.

Jan Pahl, chairman of the Canterbury Society, has added her objections to the growing lists of opponents to the plan.

She said: “The proposal to extend the Park and Ride into the field alongside the River Stour will irrevocably damage one of the most historic and treasured places in the area.”

After talking about the location where the painter created “his iconic pictures”, she added: “We appreciate the work of the council in creating the path, but can’t understand why the same council now wants to destroy a place that has given pleasure over the centuries.”

The Friends of Hambrook Marshes have documented the wealth of wild life which lives in the marshy area which would be turned into a car park.

The Environment Agency has objected to the plan on numerous grounds, including the need to protect biodiversity by offering “wildlife corridors” and because of the likely effects on fish.

Network Rail is listed as one of the objectors. The consultation closed on 19 March when there were 525 documents which had been added by the council to its consultation about the plan, the vast majority of which are objections.

Network Rail says in its objection that it had not been consulted.

It adds: “It is clear that any adjustments to catchments of the Stour would have an impact on the Ashford to Canterbury railway line, where we have just invested many millions with KCC [Kent County Council] on line speed improvements.”

Network Rail is currently working on improvements at Shalmsford Street to improve the flood resilience and believes that it is “very likely” that adjustments at Hambrook Marshes would affect the the resilience of its lines in this area.


  1. This should not go ahead. It would rob residents of an inspirational , accessible to all, place in which to marvel at our natural life. Once lost forever lost. What legacy would we be leaving to future generations if this goss ahead.

  2. A report by WSP dated January 2009, commissioned by Canterbury City Council: “Additional Park and Ride Provision, Canterbury. Evaluation of Wincheap/Thanington Sites”, recommended. that a Canterbury multi-storey carpark should be located at the Wincheap Park & Ride. On pages 9 – 18 of this report there are plans for 1, 2 or 3 decks on the current P&R site, with an extension over the allotments to the west of the B&M store, but not any further towards the River Stour, accommodating up to 1,200 vehicles. The visual impact of such a structure is illustrated.

    The WSP report also found that two alternatives sites – at Cockering Farm adjacent to the A2 and Thanington Recreation Ground – were considered inappropriate for P&R development. The main issue for the Cockering Farm site was difficulty of access. A decade later, and the problem of access to “Thanington Park” is to be solved by construction of a contra-flow system on the north-bound off-slip from the A2. Public protests concerning traffic and safety issues in accessing developments at “Thanington Park”, “Thanington Farm”, and a 64-bed care home on Cockering Road, all of which have been approved by CCC, have been ignored or dismissed by CCC, Highways England and KCC Highways.

    I wonder if public comments on the City Council’s own Planning website, and letters to the Gazette and elsewhere, protesting the proposed ground-level Wincheap P&R extension as far as the river, will receive a similar response. The WSP recommendations seem to have been forgotten – or maybe considered to be “no longer operative”, in favour of the Station Road West site?


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