Drivers in Farnborough were stunned this week after discovering a secret car park that can only be accessed on foot and has been unused for five years.
The existence of the car park, above The Gym in Queensmead, has been widely shared on social media this week and has surprised many residents.
Parking in the town centre has long been an issue, with both Princes Mead shopping centre and Farnborough Main railway station facing reduced parking in the short term future .
Empress councillor Gareth Lyon also revealed he had pushed Rushmoor Borough Council recently to open an informal parking consultation, due to the large numbers of people parking in residential areas in the ward.
The mystery rooftop car park has, in fact, been there for more than five years – with absolutely no way to access it by car, a council spokesman confirmed on Friday.
Construction work on the building was completed in 2010 with the residential fit-out taking place between 2011 and 2013.
Images show bays in the car park have all been painted – including disabled bays and direction arrows.
Gareth Thomas, 25, from Farnborough, said: “I remember seeing plans for the Farnborough Town Centre development and there was an expansion for the car park where the whole idea would be that we could get to this car park from a new car park.
“The issue for me is they haven’t finished the building work, putting a car park there and no one can get to it.
“It is more than a decade since they started this work and my view is that if this car park was finished, it wouldn’t sit there unused on a building where people can’t get to it.
“It’s a symbol of how badly managed the redevelopment has been, from my perspective.”
The borough council has said the only way to access the car park is by stairs or a lift, which also provides access to the rooftop residential refuse and cycle storage facilities. A statement adds: “The redevelopment of north Queensmead is a major regeneration project in progress in Farnborough town centre.
“It is being built in phases, with blocks one and two, including a Sainsbury’s supermarket, a Travelodge hotel, a JD Wetherspoons and apartments, now complete.
“As part of the planning permission, parking was provided on the roof of block two. The bridge link to this car park will be built as part of a future phase of the development. In the interim, the residents’ parking is being provided by the developer in the Kingsmead multistorey car park.”
'Yet to be developed'
St Modwen, the company that owns the building, said the car park had come about through phasing, adding that the parking was constructed as part of the development block containing Sainsbury’s, with access planned via the existing Kingsmead multi-storey car park.
It said this area has yet to be developed but would have a short link bridge to the car park.
Adding the block is still the subject of development appraisals, planning and assessment.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for St Modwen said: “The construction was completed in 2010. There is no vehicle access at present but there is service access.
“Plans for the adjacent site are still under development so we can’t speculate on the timescale.”
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