Plans to improve access to Tilgate Park

obby tilgate park, crawley
obby tilgate park, crawley

Councillors will be asked to approve a new access road linking Tilgate Park to the A23 and more car parking spaces at a meeting next week.

The plans – part of a £1m investment in the park – also include the resurfacing of the main car park and the installation of a pay and display system, as well as improvements to coach parking, new disabled parking areas, and safer pedestrian access around the toilet areas and into the park.

The reasons behind the proposals are to:

- Improve the visitor experience with well organised and managed access and car parking arrangements for Tilgate Park

- Reduce traffic in Titmus Drive by making the A23/K2 Crawley junction the primary route for vehicles to and from the park

- Relieve traffic congestion and parking in the park and in Tilgate.

- Two options have been put forward with a recommendation to councillors to accept the more holistic improvements.

This would see:

- A proposed new 5.5m wide access road with two narrower ‘pinch points’ to give traffic travelling in one direction priority

- Improved coach parking and turning facilities

- A reduction in the number of visitors travelling through Tilgate

- An extra 30 parking spaces in the main car park

- Resurfacing and relining the main car park

- Environmental improvements to the car park pedestrian / toilet area.

Proposals for a revised parking strategy include pay and display in all formal public parking areas, with charging in the main car park from 9am-4pm in winter and 9am-6pm in summer at a flat fee of £1 per hour up to a maximum of £5.

Charging in the fisherman’s car park would apply from 10am-4pm in winter and 10am-6pm in summer at the same rates.

Cllr Duncan Crow, Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, said: “These plans will reduce the traffic problems in and around Tilgate while giving visitors a much more welcoming entrance to our beautiful park, as well as the existing entrance.

“Tilgate Park’s visitor attractions have improved and increased substantially in recent years. These latest plans reflect the council’s continued investment in the park.”

The plans will be debated by members of the Overview and Scrutiny Commission on Monday February 10 before the Cabinet makes a decision on Wednesday February 12.

If approved, pay and display machines would be installed in the main car park and operating in April. A planning application for the access road is expected in the spring. A tender period would follow before preliminary work would begin in September. Road construction would take place between September this year and April 2015, to avoid the park’s busiest summer period.