WINCHESTER greens have criticised South West Trains over its new decked car park and its impact on pedestrians at Winchester station.

Local environmentalists say SWT have failed to think about walkers and cyclists using a short cut from the city railway station to Andover Road.

The path is blocked off and pedestrians and cyclists now have to go through the potentially dangerous car park.

Chris Gillham, of Friends of the Earth, said: “With a moment’s thought and no extra cost, they could give walkers and cyclists the choice of walking in the open air. The new car park is surrounded by a metre-high barrier that prevents people from going round the edge. If they undo the nuts and bolts and take away this unnecessary barrier, people could enjoy the sunshine and greenery, and still walk under cover if it’s raining.”

Chris Holloway, director of Winchester Action on Climate Change, agreed: “I regularly use the car park. It’s shorter, and, till now, safer and much more pleasant than going along the main road. I was shocked when I saw how SWT have turned a neglected but not unpleasant walking and cycling shortcut into a threatening and unpleasant few minutes. This is no way to encourage people to walk or cycle”.

Her attempts to speak to the station manager have been met by silence.

A spokesperson for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance said: “The new decked car park at Winchester is providing much-needed extra car parking space for our passengers and will deliver significant improvements for passengers using Winchester station.

“We do understand that many people use the car park as a shortcut and whilst people can still gain access through the car park, which is fitted with CCTV and fully lit, it is not a public right of way and there are alternative routes that people can take.

"We have however committed to work with Hampshire County Council to look at any future opportunities for development of this area and the area surrounding the station to develop improved access."