A TRAIN operator has said that it is in “ongoing conversation” with councils over plans for a new car park in Shawford.

South Western Railway (SWR) wants to develop a 100-space car park to solve the problem of parking by rail commuters.

It has prompted fury from residents, amid claims from Compton and Shawford Parish Council that villagers have already been consulted on the plans which were changed earlier this year.

Previously the parish council was in talks with Hampshire County Council and SWR about using land owned by Walcon Marine, who lease the land to a storage company, but in January this was withdrawn and instead a patch of green space on Shawford Down was proposed.

SWR has now said that it has consulted village representatives, but if the plans progress then it will host a roadshow to talk to residents.

A SWR spokesperson said: “We identified Shawford as a station to introduce additional car parking, to help the village prevent on-street parking. Our proposals would see us working with Hampshire County Council to deliver this.

“In December, we met the parish council and local councillors to make them aware of the plans to use the land between the station and Bridge Road. As such we have already consulted with the council and representatives from the village and are maintaining an ongoing conversation. If these plans progress, we intend to hold a ‘roadshow’ to provide further detail for local residents.”

The land proposed is owned by the county council and it has said that the it represents only two per cent of Shawford Down and its “not currently actively used for recreation”.

A council spokesperson added: “There have been initial discussions with the parish council, relevant Winchester city councillors, and representatives of the local residents’ association, all of which have informed a draft design of a proposed new car park. At their January meeting, the parish council agreed to support the proposed use of the Hampshire County Council owned site for additional car parking, subject to a sight of the final proposals. Once all this is agreed, there will be the opportunity for people to share their views later this spring.”

The authority has said that within the Parish Plan, published 12 years ago, there was support for a car park, either free or paid for.

The community in Shawford 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.