WINCHESTER civic chiefs agreed plans for a major renovation of the district’s car parks.

The council’s plans would see £645,000 spent over the next two years to improve parking infrastructure in the hope of ensuring that car parks are attractive and well used.

Proposals include replacing all of the machines in the Chesil multi-storey with new card enabled machines as the current ones are becoming unreliable, and surface repairs at Middle Brook Street, Colebrook Street, Worthy Lane and Cattle Market car parks.

Bus shelters at St Catherine’s and Barfield park and ride sites will be replaced.

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A sum of £50,000 will also be earmarked for revised signs, and £10,000 will provide a new waste storage area for Winchester market in Colebrook Street, which the council claim would negate the need to provide such a facility as part of improvements to St Maurice’s Covert.

Further charging points for electric cars will be installed in Tower Street car park.

Solar lighting will also be trialled at some car parks, starting with Kidmore Lane in Denmead.

While discussing the proposal at last Wednesday’s full cabinet meeting in Alresford Cllr Stephen Godfrey asked whether the additional signage and lighting would improve safety.

Jan Warwick, portfolio holder for parking, transport and engineering, said: “Speaking as a woman, I know when I’m walking through town on my own at night I feel relieved when I get to a car park. There are no dark areas, and the lighting is bright and responsive.”

The latest round of improvements follows the completion of several projects around the district including installing energy efficient lighting in Tower Street, new pay machines at Barfield and St Catherine’s park and ride, and machines capable of taking card payments being installed in all city centre car parks.

Friarsgate car park also reopened in May, after renovations took place to provide an additional 70 spaces, including four disabled spaces and two electric charging spaces.