The controversial planned multi-storey car park for Station Road West will form part of an integrated transport hub at the West station, the city council says.
A report going before councillors in September states that the car park is creating an additional 250 spaces, secure bicycle storage and electric vehicle charging points.
Critics of the 370-space car park, which won planning permission earlier this year, argue that it will worsen air quality in the St Dunstan’s area and many have called for an integrated transport hub which caters for a pedestrians, cyclists and bus users.
But in his report, the council’s director of development Ian Brown insists that the multi-storey will form a key component of the integrated transport hub, which he defined as “a place where multi-modal interchange occurs
between different forms of public transport”.
His report states: ” It is important to plan for future rail passenger increases and to investigate ways to improve transport integration and we know that Network Rail is forecasting a 3£ annual increase in use of the station.
“One potential option that is being explored is for Network Rail to lease parking spaces on the upper deck of the proposed multi-storey car park for their season ticket holders.
“This would enable their small surface car park to be more effectively used for other purposes such as: increased taxi provision, additional cycle storage, bus improvements as well as enhanced passenger/ticketing facilities.
“The new car park will therefore provide the opportunity to further enhance the effectiveness of this transport hub and further integrate transport options.”
Mr Brown added that the council is due to hold discussions with Stagecoach on improving bus services to and from the train station.
The planned car park, however, continues to attract opposition from critics.
Prof Richard Scase, a University of Kent business expert and Canterbury Journal contributor, has raised concerns over crime and personal safety.
He fears the car park could become a haven for drug dealing and a robbery hotspot with muggers targeting drivers returning to their cars.
“There is no way CCTV and modern technology can cope with this,” Prof Scase said.
“That is why councils in other parts of the country are demolishing their multi-story car parks. They are not simply architectural eyesores. They are not safe.”
The car park and multi-storey will be discussed at the council’s newly convened Canterbury Forum which meets for the first time in St Peter’s Methodist Church Hall, St Peter’s Street, at 7pm on Monday, September 1o.