Recommendation: Conditional approval
Proposal: Full application for the proposed upgrade to the existing Park and
Ride facility via the provision of a decked car park facility increasing parking by 104 spaces; provision of a new access to
Winnersh Triangle Railway Station; improvements to the urban realm of the station forecourt, and associated works
Applicant: Highways and Transport, Wokingham Borough Council
The Committee received and reviewed a report, set out in agenda pages 119 to 146.
The Committee were advised that the Members’ Update included further clarification relating to the number of electric vehicle charging spaces at the proposed development.
In line with the given deadlines, two public written submissions were received for this item. These submissions were circulated to Members in advance, and noted on the evening. The submissions as provided can be found below.
Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) Highways and Transport, applicant, provided the following submission in support of the application:
“The Scheme seeks to improve the Park and Ride facility at Winnersh Triangle Station by increasing the capacity of the car park to allow higher number of drivers to park and use rail and bus services from Winnersh Station into Reading, as well as other locations. The Scheme has been accepted by the Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and their independent technical advisors;
In its present form, and with restricted parking capacity, the station cannot fulfil its potential both as a gateway to the local area and as a much-improved park and ride facility. The enhanced car park design will include spaces and charging points for electric vehicles which will help reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change. This will encourage increased use of electric vehicles given that the availability of charging points is a major consideration for purchasing electric vehicles;
Given that Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) have declared a “climate emergency”, the Scheme will demonstrate the steps WBC is taking to reduce adverse environmental impacts and improve public health in the area, and to make WBC carbon neutral by 2030;
The Park and Ride facility will be complemented by station forecourt improvements in the form of a new access, turning head and urban realm enhancements. These elements of the Scheme would not only generate a number of strategic benefits, based on its own merits, but would also complement the car park enhancements. The improved access for buses would help the access and egress manoeuvres, thereby increasing the attractiveness of the bus park and ride;
There will be additional safety benefits associated with the new access arrangements (e.g. pedestrian movements between the business park and the station will not have to interact with buses and other vehicles accessing the forecourt). This would greatly enhance the perception of pedestrian safety at the station forecourt. The planting of new trees and an overall improvement in the ambience and appearance of the station approaches will also generate benefits for those using the station;
The Planning, Design and Access Statement assessed the Scheme against the NPPF and relevant local planning policies of the development plan. The Scheme implements the local aspirations of WBC with regard to the improvement of park and ride facilities at Winnersh Triangle Railway Station and accords fully with other local and national policies.”
Prue Bray and Paul Fishwick, Ward Members, provided the following submission in support of the application.
“We support this application because it:
· Contributes to reducing journeys by private car, and therefore helps both reduce congestion and the borough’s carbon footprint;
· Includes solar panels, again helping the borough’s carbon footprint;
· Provides extra parking capacity, which should help reduce problem parking on adjacent residential roads.
We welcome the increase in disabled parking provision from 8 to 20 spaces, and the increase in electric vehicle charging points from 4 to 48.
However, there are 3 spaces reserved for station staff at the moment, and this is being reduced to 2. We do not understand why this reduction is taking place, and ask for that 3rd space to be allocated so that station staff can continue to park.
We are disappointed that no parent and child spaces have been allocated. These extra-wide spaces make it much easier for people with young children to park and get their children out of the car. The provision of a few such spaces would have encouraged people with young children to use both the station and the park and ride bus.”
Members were asked in turn for any comments or queries on this application. Specific comments or queries are summarised below.
Simon Weeks commented that it had been confirmed that chevron parking would not help in this particular instance. Simon added that the addition of photovoltaic panels should allow generation of power in excess of the requirements for the car park, including lighting and ticket machines. Simon clarified that passive electric vehicle charging meant that the infrastructure, such as wiring, had been laid underneath the spaces to allow for the above-ground charging device to be installed at a later date when required, thereby reducing the costs in the long term.
Rachelle Shepherd-DuBey queried whether a wheelchair or pushchair capable lift could be made part of this application, where the park and ride would be moving to during construction, and where the disabled spaces were proposed to be located. Graham Vaughan, case officer, stated that there was a proposed lift to the decking included within the plans. Graham added that the disabled spaces could be seen on the plan on agenda page 145, highlighted in yellow. Pauline Jorgensen (Executive Member for Highways and Transport) stated that she had spoken to officers and was informed that the exact location for moving the park and ride had not yet been finalised. Rachelle asked that the Winnersh Ward Members be liaised with regarding this.
Malcolm Richards queried whether timings regarding the switching-off of lighting in the car park had been finalised. Graham Vaughan stated that the proposed lighting column timings had not yet been finalised.
Andrew Mickleburgh queried whether any additional vehicle movements could be managed both within the car park and on the public highway, and whether both potions of the scheme were funded to be delivered together, thereby avoiding potential safety issues. Judy Kelly, Highways Development Manager, stated that the scheme as shown had modified access to realign with the proposed new bus stop. Any additional traffic as a result of the proposed additional spaces could be accommodated within the highways network. Graham Vaughan stated that it was very likely that funding would be secured for the entirety of the scheme, however the individual elements of the scheme could be delivered independently of each other without sacrificing safety or accessibility.
Simon Weeks proposed an additional informative, asking that the applicant endeavour to deliver the entirety of the scheme together rather than in two separate phases. This was unanimously carried and added to the list of informatives.
Abdul Loyes sought clarification that no additional trees would be removed other than the 10 as set out in agenda page 133. Graham Vaughan stated that a tree survey had been undertaken on site, and 10 trees of moderate quality were due to be removed and replaced by 15 trees. No additional trees would be removed above the 10 proposed.
Carl Doran queried why the dedicated staff spaces on site had been reduced from 3 to 2 as part of these proposals. Graham Vaughan stated that there was not a significant demand from National Rail for these spaces, however there was an element of discretion and 3 spaces could be provided if the demand increased.
Stephen Conway queried why no parent and child parking bays were proposed to be provided. Judy Kelly stated that there were no parking standards requiring a particular amount of parent and child bays, and they were not particularly common at park and ride sites. Judy added that the design team had advised that they could consider this at the detailed design stage.
Pauline Jorgensen and Malcolm Richards commented that they did not want to reduce the overall parking capacity in favour of parent and child bays that were not in demand at similar sites.
Simon Weeks proposed an additional informative, asking the applicant to evaluate and consider whether there was a need for parent and child bays to be located on the ground floor. Support for this informative was not unanimous, however it was carried and added to the list of informatives.
RESOLVED That application number 200856 be approved, subject to conditions and informatives as set out in agenda pages 120 to 126, additional informative asking the scheme to be delivered in one phase, and additional informative asking the applicant to consider any need for parent and child bays to be delivered on the ground floor.