Multi-storey will form key element of West station transport hub, insists council

Canterbury West train station

The controversial planned multi-storey car park for Station Road West will form part of an integrated transport hub at the West station, the city council says.

A report going before councillors in September states that the car park is creating an additional 250 spaces, secure bicycle storage and electric vehicle charging points.

Critics of the 370-space car park, which won planning permission earlier this year, argue that it will worsen air quality in the St Dunstan’s area and many have called for an integrated transport hub which caters for a pedestrians, cyclists and bus users.

But in his report, the council’s director of development Ian Brown insists that the multi-storey will form a key component of the integrated transport hub, which he defined as “a place where multi-modal interchange occurs
between different forms of public transport”.

His report states: ” It is important to plan for future rail passenger increases and to investigate ways to improve transport integration and we know that Network Rail is forecasting a 3£ annual increase in use of the station.

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

“One potential option that is being explored is for Network Rail to lease parking spaces on the upper deck of the proposed multi-storey car park for their season ticket holders.

“This would enable their small surface car park to be more effectively used for other purposes such as: increased taxi provision, additional cycle storage, bus improvements as well as enhanced passenger/ticketing facilities.

“The new car park will therefore provide the opportunity to further enhance the effectiveness of this transport hub and further integrate transport options.”

Mr Brown added that the council is due to hold discussions with Stagecoach on improving bus services to and from the train station.

The planned car park, however, continues to attract opposition from critics.

Prof Richard Scase, a University of Kent business expert and Canterbury Journal contributor, has raised concerns over crime and personal safety.

He fears the car park could become a haven for drug dealing and a robbery hotspot with muggers targeting drivers returning to their cars.

“There is no way CCTV and modern technology can cope with this,” Prof Scase said.

“That is why councils in other parts of the country are demolishing their multi-story car parks. They are not simply architectural eyesores. They are not safe.”

The car park and multi-storey will be discussed at the council’s newly convened Canterbury Forum which meets for the first time in St Peter’s Methodist Church Hall, St Peter’s Street, at 7pm on Monday, September 1o.


  1. Surely the most sensible approach would have been to plan a state of the art integrated public transport hub first and then fit the residual car parking requirement around that in a flexible way that can easily be adapted in response to future changes in peoples mode of travel as and when we get a fit for purpose cycle network and progressive green technology delivers a quantum leap forward in the way people who are not cyclists or pedestrians move around the City..

    Please come we have some lateral and innovative thinking here rather than everything having to fit around a conceptually outdated expensive monolith which will never attain optimum capacity and I daresay need to be demolished after 20 years at most.

    In the meantime I see that our MP has opened discussion with Network Rail about a possible Canterbury Parkway station that would reduce the pressure on C West substantially.

    Sounds to me as if we the public need some joined up thinking from our politicians .The issues are so important that they transcend party politics .

  2. I’m not sure if drug-dealing and the mugging of returning vehicle drivers will top this proposed car park’s list of major detractions but Professor Scase is right to draw our attention to these potential risks in the points he makes. That there will be many other problems associated with this scheme appears to be blindingly obvious to the people who will be on the receiving end of them but seemingly invisible to the suits in the lofty towers of the City Council offices.
    As the battle lines are drawn, this project is likely to become totemic: the will of the people vs. the power of the Council.

    However, on one point we can surely all agree: St. Dunstan’s Street is totally choked with traffic. Only a raving lunatic* would, therefore, devise a plan which, by its very nature, will serve to feed more and more vehicles into an already highly congested area, thus adding greatly to chronic health problems associated with increasing levels of air pollution.
    *Mad perhaps but not mad enough to live near, or suffer from, the consequences of a bad decision!

    Yes, in an ideal world, Canterbury would be like some American cities I’ve visited, where there is a vast amount of room available to build feeder roads, peripheral car parks, all served by tram/bus links and have railways connected to airports. Oddly enough though, despite having the room to do all of the above, our American cousins seem to prefer cars to trains and driving to using public transport. Oh to have the luxury of the American set of choices but of course, in a mediaeval city we don’t. Again, on this point, all can agree.

    Do I have the magic cure? The sovereign panacea to all Canterbury’s traffic problems? Er…no.
    However, I do have some options, all of which will help alleviate the current mayhem.
    I’ve tried to list them in rising cost order.
    i) Return St. Dunstan’s Street to full width, opposite its junction with Linden Grove.
    ii) Paint (no stopping/parking) double red lines between the Westgate and Station Road West.
    iii) Re-open Whitehall railway bridge to light traffic.
    iv) Erect pavement fencing to deter jaywalking/promote proper use of the various road crossings.
    v) Enforce the “engine off” rule for all vehicles waiting for the level crossing gates to open.

    Other options, with much larger price tags might include.
    a) Network Rail “cut and covering” the railway line 1.5km from west of Whitehall bridge to east of the Kingsmead crossing, thereby removing both crossings and freeing up acres of land.
    b) Putting in an underground car park, under the Victoria Rec and getting two important, beneficial uses out of this land.
    c) Rebuilding the Elham Valley railway line, from the West Station to the A2 near the Gate Inn park and ride (via K&C) and running it as a shuttle tramway.
    d) Re-connecting Whitstable (station) to UKC/Canterbury West via a Crab & Winkle tram/light railway.

    Are a, b, c and d any madder than wasting £9m on a white elephant multi-storey? You decide.

    Hard cash – The important Q. Do we (the UK) have the money for these kinds of big ticket projects?
    Well, according to the Guardian, until 4 years ago, we were spending (investing – ha ha!) over £15m per day, yes that was £15m per day, keeping our troops in Afghanistan and then (according to the Daily Telegraph) abandoned over £1bn of their equipment when we finally brought them home.

    So yes, I think we do have the money to make real investments in some practical, sustainable projects which will be of long-term benefit to Canterbury, its residents, its visitors and its future.


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