Winchester car parks are quintessentially English through and through. You have to race to get the remaining space, the ticket machines are quite frequently out of order, and you often end up queuing.
For a lot of visitors, the car parks are the first impression people get of this city, which I think can often be a disappointment. With all our beautiful sights, spires and streets it is a shame that we can’t really manage what is essentially some tarmac and paint.
For a long while I had to drive into the city centre, and daily endure our parking issues. I’ve spent hundreds of pounds each year parking in Tower Street, so it’s still a shame to go there and see that very little has changed.
For a car park that is under cover, there are plenty of puddles (how does that make sense?) and the floor is very rough. Parts of the car park are quite dark especially at night, and there’s usually a fair amount of rubbish around. As a visitor to the historic old capital of England that prides itself on its centre, that wouldn’t fill me with welcoming vibes.
Most of it is now under cover, being refurbished as part of the County Council building refurbishment, which to be honest I’m grateful for. If you’ve seen the parts of the building above that have been redone, then I predict great things for this once great car park. But it has been going on for a very long time.
Because they had to stop the pay-on-foot barriers and machines during the refurbishment, I then moved down to the Chesil Street Multi-Storey, and practically discovered the bottom of town, yet to be honest, it still has the same problems – yet with a lot more spaces (and nicer toilets).
Luckily I now have my own space in town, and have been around long enough not to judge our area on the car parks. I appreciate we want to encourage less traffic into the city centre and get everyone on the park and ride, but it’s not always possible because of time or carrying heavy goods, so can we please encourage those in power to take more care of the small details that can really make a difference.