Council should more carefully consider city’s parking needs

Car parking is on the city council's agenda

Canterbury City Council seems determined to press ahead with a multi-storey car park by the West station. The latest claim by leader of the council Cllr Simon Cook is that it will regenerate this part of the city. I fail to understand this.

There is a missing element in the arguments of the proponents of this scheme. Their assumption is that shoppers will park their cars at Station Road West and then walk down the high street to the shopping hub of Whitefriars.

This is not going to happen. Particularly on cold, wet days accompanied with shopping bags, screaming children and elderly relatives.

It will make Canterbury a less attractive shopping destination at a time when High Street shops all over the country are closing.

And it looks as though things are going to get even tougher for these stores in the future. Their success is dependent upon convenient customer access. Building a multi-story car park at the north end of town when the key shopping area is at the other end makes little sense.

Artists impression of Station Road West car park
An artist’s impression of how Station Road West will look after the work is complete

The Rosemary Lane car park is planned to close. This is much nearer to the central shopping district.

Its closure will put even greater pressure on the Whitefriars parking facilities. Because this will be the first choice for car drivers.

They will first try to park at Whitefriars. When they find all the spaces are taken they will turn at the roundabout and join the Pin Hill/Rheims Way traffic queues and congestion to get to Westgate to park at Station Road West.

The result of the Station Road West multi-storey car park will be to create more congestion and air pollution for the whole of Canterbury and not simply in the local area of St Dunstan’s.

Basically, this new parking facility is not needed. I walk along Station Road West most days. On no occasion has the temporary council car park had more than 10 to 12 vehicles.

It really is a waste of money that the council should use for other much-needed environmental improvements. It’s even more frustrating that this proposed car park will actually make Canterbury a less rather than a more attractive shopping destination.


  1. I fear that some heads are in the sand over this because of an inability to accept that they have might have made a mistake in pursuing the clearly flawed vanity scheme for a multistorey car park ,

    Classic Kings New Clothes .Everyone else other than a couple of people can see very clearly that all the objective data and environmental evidence does not stack up in support of the development..

    I have just returned from a holiday in Switzerland . All the railway stations in event the smallish towns had an adjacent bus station..Connecting services between bus and rail worked brilliantly and digital information on connection times was comprehensive and widespread..

    Sure Switzerland is a rich country but this ease of convenience for passengers and the relegation of the motor car in terms of relevant importance is not down to money It is common sense integrated planning in the public interest .

    We also saw lots of examples of wider environmentally sensitive transportation innovation which again had nothing to to with comparative national wealth eg electric car sharing

    Interestingly it was also very clear that safe pedestrianisation was paramount and we were frequently caught by surprise when motorists stopped to allow us to cross the road in places without a marked crossing point.

  2. The MS is designed to accomodate people around Canterbury who wish to drive to the station to go to London. There is no other purpose.

  3. If that’s the case it is an even more compelling reason for abandoning this environmentally absurd project. There is no need for it. The present temporary car park never has more than a dozen cars. It will lose the Conservatives their overall majority on the Council at next year’s local elections.

  4. With reference to Graham’s comment ,presumably this wont presumably include commuters from new developments such as Mountfield Park because we were assured at the time of the Local Plan and subsequent individual planning applications that these people wont be adding to the number of car journeys into the City as they will all be accessing C West by fast bus/bicycle or on foot..

    One can only presume that given its determination to proceed with this scheme the City Council no longer has any confidence in the previous assurances which it and the developers gave to local residents at the time and which were greeted with to put it mildly a degree of scepticism.with these doubts being reflected very perceptively in the Green Balance report published by Historic England- an important document which seemingly not many people here are aware of. .

  5. I think that one of the problems here is that people who live outside the immediate City area are completely unaware of the lack of need for this scheme and perhaps more importantly how much it is going to cost them in the decades to come.

    Neither I would imagine are the Councillors from outside the City fully aware of the strength of opposition to the scheme that there is herein Canterbury who can see all the empty spaces for themselves.

    Certainly if I lived in one of the surrounding villages or coastal towns I would want to be talking to my ward Councillor about it sharpish and making it quite clear that I did not want a part of my council tax wasted on such an obvious white elephant -even with a green wall !!

  6. With this car park at Canterbury West it will be easier to park a car and travel up to Westfield Shopping Centre at Stratford on high speed trains than to walk to the other end of town in Canterbury to shop at Whitefriers. This plan would be to the detriment of Canterbury as a shopping destination. I assume that Conservative councillors know that their seats are at risk in backing this absurd proposal? Are they aware of the grass roots opposition to this project? Fine if they don’t want to be re- elected next May in the local elections.
    If the car park is for commuters there is enough space already. The temporary car park at Station Road West has rarely more than a dozen cars. Why have Coucil loans for something not needed?

  7. Perhaps Basil Fawlty, as host of Mastermind, should place CCC in the famous black chair.
    Name? City Council. From? Canterbury. Specialist subject? The bleedin’ obvious!

    Does it really take the vision and sagacity of an Emeritus Professor to point out to the City Council that it’s not quite Christmas and yet there’s a big, fat turkey on the menu. Surely, even the most dim-witted of us can clearly see that this multi-storey venture is nothing else but a turkey, a white elephant, a folly, or by any other name, nothing less than a mad extravagance. The wrong idea, in the wrong place, for all the wrong reasons, this car park idea is so very wrong, on all sorts of levels.

    Taking one of Professor Scase’s points just one stage further. CCC is committed to allowing the building of thousands of new homes on the southern and western outskirts of Canterbury. Most of these houses will play host to at least one car. Where then does CCC want its shiny new car park? Of course, the north side of town: where else would make perfect sense? Just to ensure total mayhem, this unwanted and unnecessary car park is to be sited nowhere near the shops but adjacent to an already choked St. Dunstan’s Street bottleneck. Brilliant! Unless you’d been on the sauce, or sniffed something a tad gluey, you simply couldn’t make this up this kind of nonsense, could you?

    One thing’s for sure. If, or sadly when, CCC builds this unwanted and unrequired multi-storey, the subsequent addition of thousands of new Canterbury residents and their cars will herald the opening of a number of new (free!) car parks.
    They’ll be called Rheims Way, Pin Hill, Wincheap, Old/New Dover Road and any other city streets you can think of.

  8. An unintended consequence of this car park is that more people will shop at Westfield shopping centre at Stratford rather than at Whitefriars. It is only 40 mins away by high speed. Not so different to walking from this car park to the shopping core in Canterbury. Westfield has a far greater range of shops and high end brands. Whitefriars needs all the help it can get without the Council’s absurd parking policies adding to its problems.

  9. Or, possibly these potential city centre shoppers will be more likely to ignore Canterbury totally, by visiting/spending their money at Bluewater, Westwood, or the Ashford Outlet Mall. They’re all c.30 minutes easy drive away, have ample (free!) parking and those two factors alone will be hugely attractive and advantageous to families looking for a comparatively stress-free shopping expedition.
    Faced with the alternative of the absurd c/o CCC who could possibly blame them?

  10. The mult story car park will make it easier for people to get out of Canterbury to shop and to spend money elsewhere. How long will it be before Westfield puts up an advert at Canterbury West station saying ‘you’re only 50 mins away from top global brands for a great shopping experience’. Another death knell for Whitefriars? It’s the last thing our major shopping centre and it’s affiliated locally owned independent stores need in these tough trading times.
    Good of the Council to increase the competitive threat to local trade by closing Rosemary Lane car park and encouraging drivers to park at Canterbury West. ‘We might as well nip up to Westfield at Stratford’. Two off peak tickets a cheap option.

  11. So our “clever ” and seemingly unaccountable council?…(have you tried getting a meaningful response from you so called ward Councillor recently???) is building this huge and ugly car park at West station…and closing other car parks nearer to Whitefriars…in which it has invested loads of YOUR cash without any consultation. We see day by day, the shop based retail sector declining. Recent reports predict a decrease of retail space of 40%…and don’t forget our society has an unsustainable
    consumer spending debt rate…with interest rates pushing upwards from the current historic lows …even going back to the 18th century.
    Your council seems to invest your money badly ,just like it has done buying over-priced poorly located housing at Parham Road.

    Please do consider not giving this Tory crowd your vote next May. They make the loony left of past times look really sane.


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