Rail commuters targeted for new car park plans

Horsham Gates, North Street, Horsham
Horsham Gates, North Street, Horsham

A national parking company aims to provide a ‘competitive’ service for Horsham commuters after applying for permission for a car park at the fire damaged Horsham Gates site.

The building in North Street, Horsham, which was home to several companies including the Horsham accountants Spofforths, was destroyed by a fire in October 2009 when arsonists lit bins in the underground car park.

The site has been empty since the remains were demolished shortly after the attack, but this week RCP Parking, which owns and manages up to 100 car parks across the UK, has applied for permission from Horsham District Council to turn the site into a 52-space pay and display public car open 24 hours a day.

It is a temporary application for three years to put the land to more positive use, the company believes.

General manager of RCP Parking, Tony Wakeling, said: “You can see from its location that the attraction from RCP’s view, if planning permission were granted, we are likely to aim it at the station commuter market.

“I have been to the station car park and the demand exists. We believe we can bring a car park to the town that will be commercially competitive.”

In the application RCP Parking explains that the introduction of a car park would ‘impact the area in a positive way’.

It states: “The proposal to utilise the site as a temporary public pay and display car park will allow the site to be utilised by the public as well maintained by the operator (RCP Parking) therefore impacting on the area in a positive way.”

However commuters had mixed opinions about the proposals when the County Times spoke to some this week.

A female commuter, who uses the railway station’s car park about once a month to attend meetings in London, said: “I would use (the proposed one) if there was a half day rate. It would be good to have reduced hours rather than just a day.

“I’m often here for four hours and pay for a whole day.”

One passenger who does not travel on the trains or park in the car park regularly said: “I would rather park here a) if it’s pouring with rain and b) because of time.

“If weather or time don’t matter and budget is more important to someone then it would be good.”

The district council is expected to make a decision on the application by the end of November.