Station parking - a look at the wider picture

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I feel I should reply to the various comments expressed in last week’s Sussex Express contesting some of the points reported in the very brief summary of the much fuller letter I originally sent on this subject, dealing with the wider aspects of this issue.

Firstly, my use of the term “dire need” referred not simply to present station parking, but rather more widely to both present and future parking needs for the greater area of Lewes town centre west, which is clearly badly deficient even by present day standards, quite apart from any future needs.

The whole point of the exercise now to be carried out by the appointed group including our MP, Norman Baker, now a transport minister, is surely to take full view and account of all the wider issues thereto.

In other words, the group will need to consider the future parking needs of all kinds to benefit the wider area, as well as providing a transport interchange facility at the station, also beneficial as an integral element.

That said, I doubt whether the total number of 1,000 parking spaces would be necessary or justifiable, and is not in any way a figure I would support. Indeed, I would agree that such an amount could well create traffic access problems, would be difficult to accommodate as well as harm to the environment.

Personally, I would envisage nothing more than a limited partial upper deck dedicated mostly to public town parking and shared with a bus station provision. Anything more would clearly create substantial daylighting problems for the station parking below in any case.

The consideration would also extend of course to the provision of properly segregated ramp access to the lower level, which is inadequately catered for by the single-lane two-way Pinwell Lane roadway, creating problems in turn for the present five-way junction at the bottom of Station Street.

All these problems and deficiencies can and should be addressed together, and the rebuilding work needed to strengthen the station approach bridge surely offers an excellent opportunity to upgrade the wider area around the railway station in transport and parking terms generally.

I do not consider this to be “70s thinking”, but realistic provision for the future of this important part of Lewes, so far neglected.

I would also make the obvious point that if much of the incoming traffic from south of the town, via Southover High Street principally, can end its journey at a station car park, this actually relieves the onward part of the town centre, rather than loading its narrow streets further, another point which seems to have been missed in the negative reactions to what is seen elsewhere as an opportunity for some constructive thinking, and possibly (or hopefully) eventual action.

Michael Parfect

Lewes