Christ’s Hospital Railway Station should be upgraded instead of building a parkway station north of Horsham, a top Tory councillor has suggested.
Developer Liberty is proposing the new station as part of its plans for up to 2,750 homes and a new business park north of the A264.
However it has not yet submitted a planning application and it is believed that Network Rail would not allow both this, and a station within the Kilnwood Vale west of Bewbush development, to go ahead.
During a discussion of parking problems in and around Christ’s Hospital Railway Station last Monday, Brad Watson said: “I have long believed the answer is to have a significant interchange north of the line just south of Broadbridge Heath.”
Mr Watson (Con, Nuthurst and Southwater), chairman of West Sussex County Council’s North Horsham County Local Committee, added: “Have a north car park and increase the station to a commuter size station of 12 carriages.”
He suggested this would be a better option than building a new parkway station north of the A264 as Christ’s Hospital services would be able to run through Crawley to London as well as via Warnham.
Francis Pulvermacher, property director at Christ’s Hospital Foundation, explained that the school had noticed a significant increase in both people using the station and motorists using the settlement as a rat run over the last five years.
He listed a number of recent incidents including a member of staff walking in King Edward Road having to take evasive action, while last month a car crashed into a hedge, which he said was the only reason the vehicle did not end up crashing into someone’s living room.
A consultant engaged by Christ’s Hospital said that surveys showed vehicles travelling faster than the speed limit at some locations on average, while the level of parking around the station was three times higher during the week than at the weekend and evenings.
Parking in some areas had the effect of reducing the road to single width, meaning drivers were coming into conflict with each other.
Although the consultants had not looked too much at potential solutions they were suggesting some form of traffic calming measures, such as gateway features at the start of the 30mph zone to slow down motorists and encourage them ‘to be a bit more careful’.
Officers explained that there was already an outstanding Traffic Regulation Order request to look at parking issues in Christ’s Hospital and come up with a viable scheme to solve the problems.
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