Daily Archives: December 8, 2011

If the station car park closes, what happens to the farmers market?

UPDATE: Please see the bottom of this post for an update from Kevin.

From Blackheath Village Residents Group via an email from Kevin Bonavia:

Lease on Station Car Park Will Not Be Renewed

The Council’s lease on Blackheath Station car park has come to an end and Network Rail, the owners of the car park, do not intend to renew it. It is understood that Network Rail want to operate their own business from the site and although they are not saying what this is they have said that they intend to retain some sort of car parking facility. Network Rail also have a commitment to the arrangements that have been agreed for the Olympics.

More on their site. Being vigorously tweeted about by Kevin Bonavia and Heidi Alexander. No comment from Nick Raynsford, who is probably talking about housing somewhere. There are other issues Nick.

Hope they can get something sorted here. Otherwise Network Rail will may try to develop the car park, as they have done in other parts of the south east.

UPDATE: Better link to the mess of redevelopment at Epsom station that I was thinking of: Controversial Epsom Station regeneration given the green light from 2010

UPDATE: Here’s a reply from Kevin Bonavia:

Here’s an update following a number of enquiries to Network Rail about their intentions and to Council officers about Council policy towards use of the site.

Network Rail (via their property department) have informed our MP, Heidi Alexander:

“I would like to confirm that the Blackheath Station Car Park will remain in its current use once the lease with Lewisham Council comes to an end. It will however be necessary for there to be restrictions during the Olympic period due to Blackheath being a designated station for transport to the Olympic Park.”

So far so good. I understand that Network Rail will shortly be meeting Lewisham’s Director of Property to discuss more details, and I have asked for more information about potential changes to the operation of the car park, such as parking charges and any effect on the farmers’ market.

In the meantime, the Council’s approach to the use of the car park is very clear. In 2005, the Council undertook a survey of sites that could potentially be used for more housing as part of Lewisham’s obligations under the London Plan. In the case of the Blackheath Station car park, Network Rail submitted that the site would be suitable for high density housing with a decked car park. The Council, however, decided not to place the site on the list for potential new housing stating:

“Although this site is close to a rail station and therefore in a highly sustainable location it was considered that in this case the preservation or enhancement of the Conservation Area at Blackheath took precedence. It was considered that a development of this density and pattern would not conform to the historic pattern of development within the area and would form an intrusive element that could not preserve or enhance its character. The loss of the car park additionally would not preserve the village character of the Blackheath Conservation Area by removing the Farmer’s market site, and the possibility of parking in the centre of the village.”

Network Rail should be aware of this, but it’s worth reminding them in case there’s a change of heart…

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