TRANSPORT bosses are confident ‘modest’ £1-a-day parking charges at the new Warrington West railway station in Chapelford will prevent ‘overspill’ into surrounding streets.

The £19 million scheme is approaching its final stages but the council is still unable to confirm when the site is due to open.

Motorists leaving their vehicles at the site will be charged to park up once it opens – an issue which has sparked concerns from Ian Buttress, co-ordinator of the Cheshire Tramways group.

Speaking in his personal capacity, he says he is a ‘great supporter’ of the station but wants it to feature free parking.

He adds: “I have been dismayed by news that it is proposed to impose car parking charges at this new station, whereas there are no car parking charges at the nearby Sankey Station.

“It is unclear whether this decision has been made by Warrington Borough Council or by the operator – whoever is responsible, this is a bad decision.

“The main purpose of the new station is to attract those travelling by car to work or for shopping to change to using the rail services from this new station, thus reducing congestion and pollution, and hopefully the policy can be looked at again.

“Even if my aim of free parking is not accepted then I propose a marketing scheme with an introductory free car parking scheme for one month to get the passengers committed to the new station.”

The councils says, subject to the securing of final approvals from Network Rail, the operator of the rail network, it is anticipated that the station will open to passengers this autumn.

It has vowed to widely publicise a precise date once confirmed.

The facility will benefit from a 250-space car park and secure parking for 50 bicycles, while there will be bus stops located both outside the station entrance, on San Diego Drive, and on Sycamore Lane, as well as taxi and car pick up and drop off facilities.

A council spokesman said: “For those arriving at the station by car, there will also be a large car park close to the station entrance with around 250 spaces.

“This will have the ‘park mark’ accreditation, with it being well lit and fully covered by CCTV for passengers’ security.

“It will have 12 spaces available for the charging of electric and hybrid cars as part of the council’s commitment to encourage the purchase of such vehicles.”

Furthermore, it will have a small separate car park immediately outside the station entrance for blue badge holders to use, with the station itself being fully accessible for all passengers with lifts in place to allow passengers to reach both platforms.

The spokesman said: “The council will own and operate this car park. Network Rail or Arriva Rail North (Northern Trains), will be the operator of the station itself.

“This decision was taken in order to ensure that the council has control of the car park, including the setting of car park charges and that these are kept as low as possible.

“It is planned to impose a modest charge of £1 per day, purely to make a contribution towards covering the costs the council will incur in the operation of the car park.

“The charge has been set at a modest level to also ensure that the chances of any overspill parking occurring in surrounding streets is minimised.

“Complementary measures to prevent this overspill parking are to be introduced in the surrounding roads to coincide with the opening of the station.”

Town Hall bosses also confirmed monitoring will take place following the opening to identify any areas where this is occurring, with measures to be introduced to prevent this where necessary.

The spokesman added: “Final details are currently being confirmed but it is anticipated that a discount scheme will be introduced for regular users of the car park to encourage its use by passengers.

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“Further details of this will be announced in due course once the opening date for the station has been confirmed.”