Brentwood: Crossrail car park plans came as a “nasty shock” to traders

Cllr Phil Barker, Cllr Liz Cohen, Peter Franklin and Cllr Barry Aspinell at the Friars ave car park

Cllr Phil Barker, Cllr Liz Cohen, Peter Franklin and Cllr Barry Aspinell at the Friars ave car park - Credit: Archant

Crossrail’s plans to buy Friars Avenue car park have come as a “nasty shock” to traders and the council.

The rail project’s bosses want to place a compulsory purchase order (CPO) on the only car park used by shoppers visiting Shenfield high street.

Crossrail would create a new platform at Shenfield station and says it only wants to use the car park temporarily and then will restore it.

But the plans have infuriated Brentwood Council leader Cllr Louise McKinlay, Brentwood and Ongar MP Eric Pickles, traders and councillors.

Mr Pickles has spoken to Crossrail officials and says that they should have been clearer over their plans.

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He said: “I have been in regular contact with Crossrail throughout the planning process for the new rail link – and for Crossrail to put in a compulsory purchase order in such a stark way, without ensuring clarity over the position, is very disappointing.”

Cllr Mckinlay said: “Crossrail’s approach has been disappointing to say the least.

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“Eric Pickles and I had a number of meetings with them and they never mentioned CPO of the car park.”

She said it was “unacceptable” and that Crossrail needed to improve communication to ensure residents and businesses knew what was happening.

Kay Thurgood, owner of card shop Sincerely Yours, said: “The CPO news was a nasty shock.

“A year ago, we felt that no information was coming forward about Crossrail’s plans.

“I said that I wanted to be involved and have information as soon as possible so that traders could give their views.”

Cllr Liz Cohen added that there were already major issues with parking in Shenfield.

She said: “We have residents complaining in many roads about their streets being used as overflow car parks. If this happens, of course, the situation will get worse.”

A Crossrail spokesman said: “A section of Friars Avenue car park will be used temporarily by Network Rail as a worksite while improvements are made to the station and the railway.

“The spaces will be handed back to the council once the work has finished.

“Similar worksites are being set up at all stations where improvements are being delivered as part of Crossrail.

“We have been liaising with Brentwood Council on this issue for a number of years and will continue to work with the local authority, the MP, residents and businesses to ensure that they are kept up to date.”

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