Norden Park and Ride update by sdfsb346f


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      To inform members of the Committee of the current issues regarding Norden Park and Ride and to
      seek ideas on how the site could be improved or developed.


      Future Challenges

2.1   It is clear that the traffic and transport issues which the current and previous Heritage Strategy identified and
      sought to address are likely to continue and Norden’s role in assisting with reducing congestion in south
      Purbeck is likely to be required into the future. The main challenge is how that role can be enhanced to
      address issues arising at Studland and other popular coastal destinations, which are not accessed by
      Swanage Railway.

2.2   It is also likely that during the period of the next Purbeck Heritage Strategy, the branch line between Wareham
      and Swanage will be opened to the mainline and regular/scheduled passenger services will be introduced.
      This may mean that the role Norden plays in the transport infrastructure of South Purbeck will need to change.
      The implication of the reconnection of the branch line, including access to the site should be examined as part
      of the review of the Purbeck Heritage Strategy.

2.3   Whilst Norden has been promoted as a transport hub for south Purbeck, its potential as a base for cyclists and
      walkers has not been developed to its fullest extent.

2.4   The decision by Wilts and Dorset buses to cease scheduled stops at the site is seen as a negative factor in
      the development of Norden and discussions need to be held with the company to see how that decision could
      be reversed.

2.5   The Purbeck Transportation Strategy sets out a 20 year programme of work to reduce congestion and
      increase accessibility within Purbeck: how can Norden be used to assist the implementation of this


      A working Group be established made up from representatives of the Heritage Committee, Swanage
      Railway (as the operator and leaseholder), Purbeck District Council (as the site owner) and the County
      Council (as the Transportation authority) to examine the future role of Norden as a transportation hub
      for south Purbeck and to develop proposals for consideration as part of the review of the Purbeck
      Heritage Strategy.


4.1   How will this affect the environment, social issues and the local economy?

      Transport is an issue which affects the environment, the economy and the social life of an area. Congestion
      and accessibility issues have long been a feature of Purbeck. In order to address these issues, opportunities
      such as that presented by Norden Park and Ride need to be developed, so that dependence on the private
      car as a means of moving around the District can be reduced. If Norden continues to be successful in doing
      this then all these policy issues can be addressed to a certain extent.

4.2   Resource Implications

      None at present.


5.1   Norden Park and Ride was developed from 1995 onwards by Purbeck District Council as a transport hub to
      assist with relieving traffic congestion on the A351 south of Corfe Castle and south Purbeck in general. The
      main way traffic has been diverted from the A351 has been by the increased use by visitors of Swanage
      Railway from Norden to Corfe Castle and Swanage. Wilts and Dorset buses have previously stopped at the
      site, however this service has ceased. In the past a cycle hire facility has been based at the Park and Ride,
      although this is no longer operating.

5.2   A planning application was submitted on 5th November 2007 by Cycle Experience to place 2 railway box
      carriages by the entrance to the Park & Ride. These carriages will allow storage for a number of bikes so that
      Cycle Experience can provide a cycle hire facility from the Park & Ride. The hire facility will be promoted in the
      Swanage and Purbeck Holiday, District Council website and cycle maps. A decision should be reached on the
      planning application by mid February 2008.

5.3   The site has expanded through a number of phases over the years and at present has a capacity of a little
      under 400 cars with the latest phase being opened in 2003. The site is well used throughout the year, whilst
      the railway is operating.

5.4   In 2002 the management of the Park and Ride was passed to Swanage Railway by means of a lease from
      Purbeck District Council – Purbeck District Council having obtained the freehold of the site in 2001.

5.5   Three years ago a problem was highlighted concerning the opening hours of the car park. The Heritage
      Committee set up a small working group to examine how the opening hours of the car park could be
      lengthened to accommodate the needs of walkers and cyclists who were not using the railway. In order to
      achieve this, a parking strategy was adopted for the whole of the Corfe Castle area so that charges could be
      introduced at Norden in way which still maintained its attractiveness for visitors. Charges needed to be
      introduced at Norden to cover general running costs and to provide additional revenue to cover increased
      costs brought about by longer opening hours. Longer opening hours were started in 2007.

5.6   In addition to the opening hours issue, there was a problem highlighted by Corfe Castle Parish Council
      concerning how the Park and Ride was signed and advertised. Whilst all the signs referred to the Park and
      Ride being for Swanage, Corfe Castle was not mentioned. The Parish Council were rightly of the opinion that
      the Park and Ride should have a role in reducing traffic through Corfe Castle: this was always an objective for
      the site. As a result of the Parish Council’s concerns, all the signs along the A351 have been altered to
      highlight that the Park and Ride is for Corfe Castle as well as Swanage. This work was funded by the South
      Purbeck Integrated Transport (SPIT) Project.

5.7   Also as part of this strategy, Swanage Railway introduced a diesel shuttle train operating at a 20 minute
      frequency, between the Park and Ride and the station in Corfe Castle.

5.8   Other developments at the Park and Ride have included the provision of cycle hire facilities – which no longer
      operate – and the development of the Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum. The SPIT Project has also
      funded improvements to the footpath between Norden and Corfe Castle Visitor Centre (the safest route into
      Corfe village) which had been previously been closed due to health and safety reasons.

5.9   Investigations have also taken place as part of the SPIT Project to assess the potential and develop proposals
      for developing Norden’s role as a transport hub for South Purbeck, especially in relation to relieving traffic
      congestion at Studland and assisting with the loss of car parking spaces there through coastal erosion. Whilst
      ideas such as shuttle buses and light railways or tramways have been suggested, the major problem is the
      capital investment needed to deal with essentially seasonal issues.

      Background papers:                Purbeck Heritage Strategy; Files relating to the development of Norden Park and


      Mark Sturgess, Head of Community Planning and Policy


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