Tuesday, June 25th, 2024

New multi-deck car park in Sevenoaks will increase long term parking capacity by 480

THE finishing touches are currently being put on a multi-deck – that’s multi-storey to you and me – car park that has been built at the end of Buckhurst Lane, close to Sevenoaks Library and the town’s Leisure Centre on the former Buckhurst 2 car park site.

The lack of long-stay parking in the town centre for businesses and local residents has become more of a problem in recent years. So, in 2017, Sevenoaks District Council took the decision to increase capacity in the town centre by building a multi-decked car park on the Buckhurst 2 car park site which overlooks the Sevenoaks Environmental Park and Knole Park.

When the original plans were revealed, residents raised concerns about the height of the new car park. To address these concerns, the council decided to excavate into the site to lower the height of the car park by about 10 feet. Ragstone and timber effect finishes have also been incorporated on the exterior to help it blend in with the surroundings.

TOP DECK: My Sevenoaks Community Editor Frank Baldwin and Construction Manager Simon Ward on the top floor of the new car park which was built by Willmott Dixon Construction.

The car park, which is due to reopen on Monday, 8 April, will provide 480 long-stay car park spaces. This includes disabled vehicle bays on the ground floor (as there are no lifts to the upper floors).

The new car park will have Park Mark secure parking with comprehensive CCTV coverage and regular patrols. Energy saving LED lighting, that only comes on when needed, also helps make the car park more environmentally friendly and electric car charging points are available.

The car park has also brought other benefits to Sevenoaks. Soil excavated from the site has been used in the neighbouring Environmental Park to create a new, level area with a small amphitheatre. Dozens of trees have been planted and wild flowers sown to benefit wildlife.

WORK IN PROGRESS. One of the decks in the car park begins to take shape.

A new long stay car park for Sevenoaks was first talked about in the 1980s when local businesses complained that they found it increasingly difficult to recruit or expand because of a shortage of parking. The lack of parking was also causing other problems as drivers were circling the town trying to find spaces, impacting on parking in residential streets. The council decided it had to act to keep the local economy growing and to ease congestion and general pressure on parking across the town as a whole.

Future plans involve building a row of new townhouses behind the new car park, the sale of which will cover the £10m cost of building the new car park where daily and season ticket prices have been frozen at 2016 levels.

Residents and businesses can now register their interest in parking permits and season tickets. For the latest news on the car park, including charges, visit www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/sevenoakscarpark

TURNING CIRCLE: My Sevenoaks Community Editor Frank Baldwin enters the site through a security turnstile.

For those who have an interest, here are some of the new car park’s facts and figures:

  • Over 17,000 metres cubed of Folkestone layer sand transferred from the car park to the Environmental Park (the equivalent of 30 swimming pools), saving 1,200 vehicle movements through the town
  • Around 500 tonnes of steel used in the frame
  • 540 precast 110mm thick concrete floor slabs installed
  • 571 wood-effect cladding fins
  • 350m2 of stone cladding used on the external façade
  • 22 CCTV cameras installed for security
  • Over 3,500 activity sheets of paper given out by the site team to local children for colouring in!

NOW AND THEN: Works gets underway on the new car park (left) and a shot of the entrance to the new car park at the same spot (right).

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