Thu, 29 Oct 2020
A new 150-space car park will be built next to Mortimer Station.
The car park, that will be built on an agricultural field just off Station Road, will increase the number of parking spaces for passengers to 200.
The move has been welcomed by Great Western Railway, which claims that a lack of parking has been “suppressing growth in rail use” at the station since 2004.
West Berkshire Council’s Eastern Area Planning Committee granted planning permission last night (Wednesday), even though council planning officers had recommended the plans for refusal.
In a report, the officers said the application “does not justify a need for an additional 150 spaces” and the large car park would have “an urbanising impact” on the rural village.
But Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council, which submitted the planning application, said the car park would be “largely invisible from all directions” due to “extensive planting”.
It also said 92 per cent of the 1,006 people who took part in a recent survey said “the biggest issue for the community” in Mortimer was the lack of car parking at the train station.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the plans were criticised by Mike Jones, who works for a company called M&G Development that wants to build a car park for the station on another site.
He said the parish council’s plans for a 150-space car park are “a gross intrusion into the countryside” but M&G can provide “an obvious extension”.
He added: “In our discussions with GWR they made it very clear to us that our option was the preferred site, on many grounds.
“They support this application purely because they don’t want to fall between two stalls.
“It is somewhat disturbing that this is going ahead without the councillors being fully aware of a far more realistic alternative.”
But Mike Dennet, chairman of the parish council, told the meeting that M&G have failed to produce suitable plans for another car park.
He said: “What was actually presented was one little sketch saying this could be possible. There were no detailed proposals.
“We said to M&G ‘if you come up with proper proposals we will think again’ but nothing has happened.”
Graham Bridgeman (Con, Burghfield and Mortimer) said the car park “is wanted by the village” and the site “is wholly in accordance with policy”.
He added: “The village has voted for it. If the village didn’t want to have an urbanising aspect then we wouldn’t be here.
“I accept the M&G site may propose an alternative without that urbanising effect, but we simply need M&G to come forward with a planning application and they haven’t done so.
“They can’t keep saying ‘oh look at us we are going to do it you don’t need to do it there’.”