Babcock issues statement over closure of Dockyard car parks

An ‘insider’ has warned dockyard workers will soon become ‘Plymouth’s problem’ in the battle for parking…

Devonport Dockyard officials have addressed rumours they’re planning to shut down its car parks and force staff to leave their cars more than a mile away at Home Park.

Speculation arose that hundreds of Babcock workers had been briefed by managing director Craig Lockhart over proposals to ditch allocated spaces and instead push the workforce to park up half an hour away at Argyle and get the bus in.

An insider told Plymouth Live that the move had been engineered in partnership with the council as it prepares to roll out more resident-only parking zones across Keyham and Devonport.

Also the move – which it was feared would pit locals against dockyard workers – would pile even more chaos on Outland Road as commuters make the mad scramble to work, adds the source.

They said locals were already very concerned that Argyle’s new £5 million Mayflower Stand – which is to be renovated with a capacity of about 5,000 and boast associated facilities including a new bar and conference centre – will cause parking misery.

Babcock has said there are no ‘current’ plans to shut down car parks – but confirmed a review was ongoing into alternative travel arrangements for workers getting to work.

The source said: “Obviously to hear this was a bit of a surprise.

“Plymouth City Council has just granted planning permission for a development on the Argyle ground despite objections such as my own concerning the impact on parking in the local area.

“Since those of us local to the ground suffer with significant impact on match days, the potential for the area to become flooded with traffic on non-match days at the ground is problematic, however impact reports stated that Outland Road would only receive minimal additional traffic as a result of the development and parking issues therefore fell on deaf ears.

“To hear that the entire of the dockyard’s employees are now to be ‘Plymouth’s problem’; I know that the impact of the traffic all trying to get to Argyle ground in good time each day to catch the transport to work is going to cause severe issues around Outland Road.

“Additionally, it will not be long before employees realise that they will struggle to get out of the car park due to existing traffic congestion and the traffic lights; and means employees will soon start to park in surrounding streets in an attempt to improve their own exit times.

“The streets in my area are already ‘full’, and this sounds like a recipe for chaos.”

It comes after scores of angry Devonport residents piled in to a public meeting to rant about Babcock workers taking over parking spaces.

No-one from Babcock turned up to the meeting in March, so the debate was cut short, as reported by Plymouth Live.

Labour councillor Bill Stevens later revealed the firm was invited to attend, but did not respond.

A Babcock spokesman said: “There are no current plans to close the dockyard car parks.

“We are continuing to explore a range of travel to work methods in conjunction with the Naval Base Commander to provide the most sustainable options for the workforce.

“This includes encouraging car sharing, use of public transport and park & ride services as well as introducing cycle lanes across the site to encourage staff to find alternative travel options.

“All of this is also with the focus of minimising any disruption to local residents or the wider Plymouth community.”

Plymouth City Council has yet to comment.

Story from Plymouth Live.

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