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Council approves plan to demolish multi-storey

By Connor Steel

FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL have signed off a plan to demolish Osborn Road’s multi-storey car parking building and create a surface facility in its place; the planning committee confirming the move on Wednesday evening after months of consultations on this project which coincides with the construction of ‘Fareham Live‘.

Built back in the 1970s, the car park facility has provided 818 individual vehicle spots and remains an access point to Fareham Shopping Centre near to B&M / Debenhams. But it has seen a fast decline in use over time and its condition has since deteriorated with councillors saying it is financially unviable to repair in the future.

Therefore they released initial proposals to replace the multi-storey with a ‘single level car park’, which would include spaces for electric vehicles and modern-size spots for disabled users alongside parent / child. At this time of writing the car park will have 139 spaces overall, but it can be extended further if demand is required.

The site is set to be split into 2 ‘desks’ with a retaining wall erected to separate them; large canopy structures allowing for the introduction of solar panels. This would help to reduce the town’s environmental impacts and a battery enclosure building is due to be set up in the north-east corner to help charging / electrical functions.

A height restriction barrier would be in place with a red and white ‘nudge bar’ whilst pedestrian access will be provided at three points. It is believed that talks are ongoing with Shopmobility about finding a brand new site in the shopping centre area near the current location but no further updates have been shared as yet on this.

Planned designs of the new car park were warmly received alongside the provision of larger spaces during a recent public consultations, that gained over three hundred responses from local residents. But concern was raised about parking demand in the area and town centre overall, particularly when ‘Fareham Live’ launches.

This demolition is due to cut down parking in Fareham by a total of 482 spaces with the multi-storey site able to facilitate 621 vehicles; not including the top floor which has been shut for public use over recent times. But a parking survey in March found that only 51% of spots were used across all town car parks in busy periods.

Councillors argued this number showed a decreased demand in car parking and the town centre has enough spaces to cover current uses. With regards to any extra demands from ‘Fareham Live’ they said the increase would be seen mostly in the evenings, where the other car parks should be ‘quieter’ with most shops closed.

A vote was then held to approve these plans and work is expected to begin late this year to finish by summer 2024; meaning the car park should be fully opened before the launch of ‘Fareham Live’. This ongoing project will eventually see the former Ferneham Hall building regenerated into a ‘modern site’ with an extra capacity.

Further information on the approved plans can be viewed on the Fareham Borough Council website, whilst a full report from the planning committee published after their meeting (May 26) is able to be examined online.

PICTURED BY FAREHAM BOROUGH COUNCIL: Entrance for Osborn Road’s Multi-Storey Car Park; which looks set to be next stage of development work to improve overall town centre facilities for all local residents.