EMOTIONS ran high as villagers accused parish councillors for choosing the “nuclear option” in a bid to build a new car park at the train station in Shawford.

For a decade Compton and Shawford Parish Council has been exploring solutions for the problem of parking by commuters using the station, and on Tuesday night residents packed into the parish hall to air their views.

Residents are arguing that they were left out of discussions which saw plans change without any formal consultation.

Previously the authority were in talks with Hampshire County Council and South Western Railway about the possibility of using land owned by Walcon Marine, who lease the land to a storage company, but in January this was pulled off the table and instead a patch of green space, known locally as “the triangle”, on Shawford Down was proposed.

If plans are moved forward it could mean that part of the Local Nature Reserve will be turned into a 100-space car park, which Cllr Martin Bell, the member fronting the project on the council, said had been consulted on.

This was argued by Catherine Brant, chair of the residents’ association, who said that despite an agreement to work together the association was not told about the new plans until they were announced at the parish council meeting.

She said: “I can’t respond on behalf of residents about a completely new proposal that I only heard about 30 seconds before.”

But Cllr Bell said: “The parish council council considered it to be a consultation - it was a consultation.”

He also stated that there is a time frame for funding.

Resident and former HCC lawyer, who wished not be named, argued that the county council could use its powers of compulsory purchase to buy part of the Walcon site.

And nearby resident Emma Russell said: “We feel that we are being excluded from the conversation that are taking place, we are the ones that live here and we are the ones that are going to be impacted by it.

“We do want car parking issues resolved but it does need to be something that is suitable for everybody.”

And Nick Wells, who lives close to the proposed site, said: “It is not necessarily the lack of consultation, it is the fact that it is being perceived that parish councillors are going for the nuclear option. We just want discussions to be had on real facts.”

The community has also expressed concern about the impact it will have on the environment, with the car park expected to be lit in the evening, along with the health and safety of residents.

Council chairman Mike Goulding proposed that another meeting should be had with representatives from the community to discuss their concerns and put them to HCC and SWR to see if a way forward can be found.

This was backed by all councillors except Cllr Bell.

And speaking after the meeting Mrs Brant said: “I think we are happy that they have agreed to have a public consultation. It was clear that one councillor appeared not to understand the meeting of consultation.”