MORE park and ride spaces will be developed by Winchester City Council after it was awarded £5.65 million in a bid to increase lower carbon travel.

The authority will also install new electric vehicle charging points with the funds from Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The former Vaultex site at Barfield Close will provide around 300 spaces to reduce traffic in the city, with photovoltaic panels and electric vehicle charging points to feature in the plans for the site.

Cllr Paula Ferguson, cabinet member for climate emergency and local economy, said: “This new development gives people a chance to do things differently. They’ll be able to park just on the edge of the city and take a short pleasant walk in and if they have an electric vehicle, they’ll also be able to charge it.”

Initial feasibility work will begin before Christmas this year and the project is expected to be completed in early 2022, which will involve consultation through the planning process.

The council says that the schemes link with its aims of the City of Winchester Movement Strategy and supporting its pledge to become a carbon neutral council by 2024, with the whole district becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

The schemes have been welcomed by climate change groups in Winchester, who have long called on the council to think greener.

Chair of Winchester Action on Climate Change Jock Macdonald said: “

This is a good start for Winchester, the first piece of a complicated jigsaw puzzle of relieving the city centre of vehicle congestion that pollutes the air and emits carbon dioxide.

“It is vital that more than just a start is made at the same time to close the City Bridge and city centre car parks, leaving only enough spaces for city centre residents and blue-badge holders


“It is an excellent idea to install the solar panels that will charge the vehicle charging points. Presumably, electric buses can also be charged in the same way. This would be the beginning of a most important piece of the puzzle – cheap and clean local buses.”

Winchester Friends of the Earth have ‘cautiously welcomed’ the schemes.

Chris Gillham from the group said: “Electric vehicles (EVs) do reduce carbon over fossil fuel vehicles, by virtue of their motor efficiency. But we are wary of asserting that EVs are much of an answer to carbon emissions and can actually be a dangerous distraction from what is really necessary – traffic reduction, behavioural change and alternative transport modalities.

He added: “Park and ride as a contributor to carbon emission reduction is really quite doubtful.

“Even if park and ride achieved traffic reduction in Winchester by complementary removal of central parking, it may actually do that by increasing traffic elsewhere.”