St Bees Parish Council is the elected ‘grassroots’ body which represents the communities of St Bees & Rottington. In recent years the Parish Council has successfully delivered a number of projects for the village, including providing a new play area and taking over the public toilets which were threatened with closure. It is currently working to find a sustainable solution to the major issue now facing the village – the lack of off-street parking.
St Bees is a popular place to live and it also attracts hundreds of visitors each year from the local area and beyond who want to enjoy the beautiful beach, explore the dramatic coastline and RSPB reserve, have easy access to the Western Lakes, join the Coast to Coast Walk and cycle route or absorb the history of the 900 year old Priory. In addition, the village is used extensively by staff and contractors travelling to the Sellafield site or its offices in Whitehaven, either travelling from St Bees by train or leaving their vehicles in St Bees to share cars.
The centre of St Bees was built before the days of motor vehicles. It has narrow streets and very few of the properties have off-street parking. The Parish Council rents the station car park from Network Rail on an annual basis to provide free parking for travellers and local people but this is regularly full to capacity. Vehicles are being left in every available space in the village, lining the narrow streets and causing congestion.
The Parish Council now has the opportunity to extend the station car park into land currently owned by Copeland Borough Council which has agreed in principle to release the land. Network Rail has committed to provide a long tern lease on the existing car park subject to approvals. The extension to the car park would be a major benefit to rail travellers, visitors and local people and would open up the possibility of providing charging points for electric vehicles which are not currently an option for many residents who have no off-street parking of their own.
This will be a major project which will fall into three phases:-
- development of a business case to stand scrutiny from project stakeholders
- design of the car park to meet planning requirements
At this stage the Parish Council is seeking help with the first phase of the project and is looking for someone with the skills to put together a robust business case which will form the basis of discussions with stakeholders.