Case study – Solihull station car park

Overview

When Chiltern Railways took over responsibility for Solihull station, they were anxious to increase the capacity of the car park to meet current demand and to allow further expansion of their London services.

However less than half of the station car park land belonged to Network Rail; the remainder was owned by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council and leased to Centro.

The Challenge

Because Network Rail did not own the entire site, permitted development rights did not apply; it would be necessary to follow a full planning process, with objections expected from local residents. There were also highways considerations, including the need to accommodate parked buses and calls to create a new taxi rank.

The viability of the scheme remained uncertain, because it required substantial investment in a site which was in multiple ownership, while Centro had a policy of providing free parking.

The Solution

Working closely with Solihull Council and Centro, we were able to negotiate a new lease for the part of the site outside the station lease, reaching an agreement on car parking charges that would make the investment viable.

We worked with the designers to propose a car park with a split level upper deck that minimised impact on adjoining residential areas, while providing 480 spaces. With this and proposed highway improvements we were successful in obtaining planning consent.

To provide alternative parking during construction of the new multi-storey car park, our team also negotiated favourable terms for temporary parking nearby.

Results

A successful project followed, providing car parking capacity for the next decade and supporting Chiltern Railways’ investment in new rail services to London. Improved taxi ranks, short term parking and bus stops were also added.

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