Council nets £5.65m funding boost to support lower carbon travel options

Winchester City Council has been awarded a £5.65m funding boost from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to help create additional Park & Ride spaces and increased opportunities for Electric Vehicle charging to the east of the city centre.

The former Vaultex site at Barfield Close will provide around 300 spaces (subject to planning approval)  to reduce traffic in the city – linking in with the aims of the City of Winchester Movement Strategy and supporting the city council’s pledge to become a carbon neutral council by 2024, with the whole district becoming carbon neutral by 2030. Photovoltaic panels and electric vehicle charging points are also feature in the plans for the site.

The funding has been made available through the Government’s £900 million Getting Building Fund, to support green technology and lead the economic recovery after the COVID-19 outbreak.

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 news comes as the construction of Winchester Sport and Leisure Park enters its  final stages. Just two minute’s walk away from the new leisure centre, the Vaultex site will support access and parking for the Sport and Leisure Park and adjoining facilities. .

Cabinet member for service quality, transformation and transport, Cllr Martin Tod, said:

"It's great that we've secured this funding, it’s a credit to the team that turned round the plan so quickly. This will be better for commuters and visitors, as well as offering useful extra parking for users of the new leisure centre from across the district. It's also another step forward for the City of Winchester Movement Strategy, making it easier for people to get into town without needing to take their car right into the centre. ”

Cabinet member for Climate Emergency & Local Economy, Cllr Paula Ferguson, added:

“Winchester is already a beautiful place to visit but in our work to help the local economy recover, we want to make a visit to our city centre shops, eateries and entertainment venues an even more pleasant and safe experience, encouraging people to come back and to support our local businesses. 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.”