PARTS of a Hampshire car park have been closed after the floor was found to be unsafe.

Almost a fifth of the spaces at Winchester’s Friarsgate car park, in the city centre, have been closed after damage to the floor was found during a structural inspection.

The closure affects 46 of 251 spaces – 23 on floor four, and 23 on floor six.

But it is unclear how long the spaces will remain closed, or whether they will reopen at all.

A spokesman for the city council, which owns the site, said Friarsgate will be replaced as part of the Silver Hill development, so the cost and viability of repairs would be considered in that context.

But with parking already at a premium, and the Christmas season under way, the news will be a blow for shoppers and traders.

The spokesman said: “The prompt action shows the benefit of regular inspections which are essential if potential health and safety issues are to be identified and addressed. The car park will be closely monitored.”

The council said all other car parks in Winchester are open as normal and that over Christmas free parking is available after 4pm on Thursdays in many city centre car parks.