Bid for 50 new spaces at Cheltenham railway station car park
CONGESTION at Cheltenham's railway station could be eased with more than 50 new parking spaces.
First Great Western, which runs the town's station, has submitted plans to the borough council for the development.
It wants to extend an overspill area at the southern end of the existing car park.
Bosses from the train company plan to create a new, slightly raised area to accommodate 54 extra parking spaces and three disabled spaces.
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The extension would take up a grass area close to the Honeybourne Line and part of an old railway embankment.
It would take the number of official parking spaces at the Cheltenham Spa station from 187 to 244.
News of the proposed £176,000 development prompted a cautious response from members of the community.
John Stretton, who often uses the car park when picking up or dropping off family members, said: "It's murder to park there. With the volume of passenger traffic at the station, the number of 20-minute free spaces is not enough."
He added that he hoped the plans would not affect the Honeybourne Line, which is used by walkers and cyclists to get to other parts of Cheltenham.
Pat Thornton (LD, St Peter's), Cheltenham borough councillor for the area, said she wanted to know how close to the Honeybourne Line the extra spaces would be.
She said she cautiously welcomed the idea of easing congestion at the site, but wanted to closely examine the plans to identify exactly where the extension would be built.
She added that there was certainly an issue with neighbours of the station who had to put up with rail users parking for free in their streets.
She said: "In the streets around here, it's an absolute nightmare."
First Great Western spokesman James Davis said that if planning permission was granted by officers, building work would start on September 13 and take until November 8.
He added that a £930,000 project to install ticket machine barriers at the station, as part of a clampdown on fare dodgers, would start in October and be completed by the end of December.