COUNCIL chiefs have been accused of “letting our residents down” as over £2.4million is expected to be spent improving car parks across the district - with no mention of a park ride to the north of the city.

Winchester City Council cabinet gave its backing for £400,000 which is planned to be on a major works programme, during a meeting last week, with more than £2million earlier allocated to the scheme.

The works will include moving the existing coach parking provision to St Catherine’s park and ride from the site at Worthy Lane.

The next phase of improvements to Chesil Multi-Storey have been planned, which includes the replacement of fire doors, refurbishment of the public conveniences, and the resurfacing of the top floor.

Discussions have also come forward regarding the Vaultex site, also known as Coventry House, with a business case currently underway, along with new parking developments in market towns.

However, the council bosses were criticised for a lack of commitment to park and ride sites within the budget, particularly in the north of the city, over the coming year by former leader Cllr Caroline Horrill, adding that it was “absolutely shocking”.

She continued: “At the recent Kings Barton forum we talked about a community that feels slightly isolated because we are not addressing some of their public transport needs.

“We have a mini park and ride there, but we all know that we should have a park and ride of a greater facility in that part of the city.

“So I question where is all of that is in this budget because I just don’t see money going into it and that is not just because park and ride is a Hampshire County Council activity it can be our own activity and if we really want to make a difference and encourage our residents to use park and ride and not come into the city and create some of the issues we have been talking about...then we could make real progress.”

But the meeting was told that action is being taken on plans for a park and ride site to the north, with money coming from elsewhere for the out of centre car parks.

Strategic director Chas Bradfield said: “Clearly a lot of work on movement strategy is looking at evidence for where park and ride should be placed and the emerging evidence which was talked about at the recent policy committee is yes we need a northern park and ride so there is active work going on there to see how we can bring that forward.”

And cabinet member Kelsie Learney added: “I think it is important to recognise that this is actually a one-year plan we are only talking about what we are capable of doing in the next year.

“It would be quite easy for us to put a big sum in the budget somewhere for park and ride, however right at the moment that would be entirely conceptual until we have got a piece of land to put it on at which we can start working up some real costs and thinking about where finances can come from.

“We are deeply committed to a northern park and ride; it is something we will keep campaigning for. We are actively looking for sites and we will continue to do so.”