To provide more detail, here is a letter that I wrote to the Haslemere Herald this week regarding my involvement with some of the key stakeholders.
As Haslemere’s Independent Surrey County Councillor, it is a pleasure to share an update on my work to make progress on the challenges of parking, and wider transport issues at Haslemere Station.
I was pleased that following a series of meetings with SWT earlier this year, agreement was reached for a single deck as part of their commitment to increased car parking at their served stations. It was recognised that a vast multi-storey in the heart of Haslemere was of inappropriate scale. My key concerns have been the lack of transparency in decision-making about the Multi-Storey Car Park, the lack of assessment of the negative impacts and costs of such a large development and the absence of any strategic planning. As of now, however, we have a strategic SCC funded Station Travel Plan in development, in partnership with Haslemere Vision who are developing the neighbourhood plan.
Besides the additional 100 or so new parking spaces, some key components of an integrated approach that I have been working to secure and support in my role as County Councillor include:
- SCC and SWT’s significant co-funding of traffic calming and road safety improvements for safer access for cars, cyclists and pedestrians;
- SWT’s funding of safer access to the dangerous bus stop opposite the station;
- SWT’s funding for additional 100 cycle spaces in a new cycle hub;
- SWT/SCC funding of upgrading of forecourt with planting and better signage;
- Provision of real time bus information at the station;
- SCC funding for the Station Travel Plan;
- SWT Stakeholder Team partnership funding for a new Haslemere Station Community Partnership to promote Haslemere station as a “gateway” to our town and surrounding countryside, through maps, signage, leaflets and other promotion activities; and
- SWT/SCC funding for a short-term of the vacant shop space at the station to be used as a pop-up space to promote local events.
None of this progress could have been made without the commitments from the broad team I have been working with: SCC, SWT, Network Rail, Haslemere Vision, WBC, South Downs National Park Authority, Haslemere Events and other Haslemere community organisations. Jeremy Hunt has given his support to the more appropriate scale of station car parking and I invite him to join this working group to ensure all steps are implemented in the best interests of the town as a whole.
As we move forward, I will be working with SWT as detailed highways and development plans are brought forward for SCC support and approvals. In my role as County Councillor, SWT have asked me to help coordinate their key stakeholder engagement and communications as the project comes to fruition. I shall continue to provide regular updates as usual on my website at HaslemereFirst.com, and encourage everyone to take part in the current online station travel survey at https://goo.gl/UrgK5Z.
Councillor Nikki Barton
Member for Haslemere
Surrey County Council
As well as the above letter, please see below a brief comment I sent to The Haslemere Herald regarding the station parking at Haslemere station. (Please see this week’s Haslemere Herald for lead article: Car park to open in Autumn).
First and foremost, it is very good news that we have secured commitment from South West Trains for an appropriate scale of increase in car parking at the station. Secondly, it is extraordinary that Jeremy Hunt views this as a victory, given he has spent the last 6 years trying – and thankfully failing – to drop a car park the size of two jumbo jets into the middle of this small market town without full consideration of the impacts, how it fits into a vision for the town and what alternative options might exist. I cannot tell whether or not he has actually listened to the voice of so many in the community who have called for an integrated transport and car parking solution, rather than the narrow “bigger is better” mindset; however, I do welcome that he has at last implicitly conceded the points that I have been making for the past three years.
I would impress upon Jeremy Hunt and the Town Council the importance of the tremendous efforts spearheaded through Haslemere Vision and the newly created Haslemere Station Community Partnership, which provide great channels for engagement on the wider opportunities for the good of our whole community.