Responses to questions and comments

This public engagement is now closed.

1. Will the murals in the underpass be replaced? If there are new murals, please can you ensure that anything representing the town is fully representative, i.e. showing the real positive diversity we have here, not just depicting dead (or alive), white men.

The replacement of the murals is currently being discussed. We will ensure where possible that any new artwork is fully representative of Royal Leamington Spa.

2. Could there be an overhaul of the cycling security provision so that the cycles can be properly locked without having to risk cracking your head on the metal storage above.

This request will be shared with Leamington Spa Station.

3. Leamington Spa Station has looked jaded for a long time but does contain some wonderful Art Deco styling. Are you intending to retain this? Are you planning to tidy up the platforms as well?

The focus of this public engagement is the station forecourt and underpass. We are looking to retain the art deco style in the public realm space for example in new paving and signing.

4. This is an ideal and very relevant opportunity to use the full town title on the station of 'Royal Leamington Spa'

This would have to be decided by Chiltern Railways and Network Rail.

5. Will disabled parking still be provided close to the station entrance?

Accessible parking is provided close to the station entrance. On the general arrangement plan this is the parking where there are diagonal line markings around the parking bays.

6. By placing the bicycle storage at the base of the ramp which gives access to platform 2, large equipment needed for railway repairs can no longer be unloaded at the bottom of the ramp. Why not place the cycle rank at the other end of the forecourt - near the roadway down to the forecourt?

The cycle hub may be orientated differently to that of the general arrangement plan meaning access to the ramp which leads to platform 2 is maintained. From a cyclist safety perspective, the cycle hub is best located in the east end of the forecourt.

7. The forecourt space is used by walkers, cyclists, private cars, taxis and buses to arrive at and leave Leamington Station: there are 2 million passengers a year or more than 5,000 a day. There is no space for trees, flower beds and seating in so busy a space, except around the boundaries.

The general arrangement plan is indicative of what the final design could look like. Once we start looking at space in detail, we will understand what can be achieved. The idea is that any new planting will be low maintenance.

8. It is clear that best desire routes have not been considered. There is significant vehicle/pedestrian conflict and therefore serious safety implications where adjoining car park users must cross the only vehicle access to the station forecourt. The disabled ramp is located at the point where the least number of people are likely to use it. The desire route for the majority of pedestrians which is from Lower Avenue has been unnecessarily blocked off. The underpass will remain unsafe and will be avoided by many potential users. Veh access to the taxi parking area does not need to be alongside the station entrance causing vehicle/pedestrian conflict. A station is a place where users have one desire - to get to a train or to leave a train. It is not a location for socialising or sunbathing. The location of a cycle storage facility will be a blot on the landscape. Have surveys been undertaken to assess the number of cycles it should contain? There is already cycle storage on the platform which is rarely filled - why create more unwanted spaces? I do not believe that this design has been safety audited as there are so many obvious veh/ped conflicts. The veh entry ramp to the forecourt could be widened, creating a pedestrian ramp alongside which would completely remove the veh/ped conflict from pedestrians using the adjoining car park. Will the transport unions allow their members car park to be taken away or relocated? Who will maintain the plants and planters - at this time this job at the station is reliant on the friends of Leamington Station to do this voluntarily? I do not believe that this design is appropriate, safe, or has taken customer requirements into account. This project requires significant re design in view of its clear current style over practicality/safety approach.

Safety has been considered as part of the early design stage and a road safety review has been undertaken. The general arrangement plan that’s been put forward is representative of our ideas and the purpose of the public engagement is to gain views before we complete the preliminary design and progress to the detailed design stage.

9. Bicycles on the forecourt and subject to theft and vandalism and therefore the cycle parks have been placed on the platform where there is plenty of space for them and they are protected by the presence of railway staff and passengers. Space on the forecourt is precious - why not leave the cycle parking where it is?

Funding has been secured specifically for an enclosed cycle hub for the station forecourt. The cycle hub will be visible from the roadside and will promote cycling to the station. The facility will add to the forecourt enhancements.

10. I am just disgusted that you are spending money on this rather than making Warwick Station disabled friendly. How dare you continually exclude me from visiting family in Warwick, because I cannot get back to Leamington on the opposite platform. What do you have against disabled people that this work still has not been undertaken? You disgusted me.

This scheme is part of a package of infrastructure improvements for the Commonwealth Games bowls and para bowls competitions. The improvements to Leamington Spa Station forecourt and underpass consider all disabilities.

11. The layout looks fantastic. It needs restrictions on taxis waiting to avoid it being congested. Do we assume taxis will be held in a "holding area" close by so that it is not full of empty cars.? Can ALL the car spaces be for EV or Disabled parking only. Also, can the taxis use some of the parking bays if they are EV too (i.e. taxi rapid charging only?)

The idea is that taxis will be held in a holding area, one option is to use the upper car park. Future proofing for EV charging for taxis is being considered.

The station operator has requested the current parking allocations.

12. It looks like the pedestrian pathway from the current taxi rank to Lower Avenue in the east will be overwritten by the cycle store in this version of the plan. Please don't block this pedestrian access! I know it is perfectly possible to walk across the car park, turn left along the Old Warwick Road on the pavement, and turn left into Lower Avenue, or vice versa, but this is longer and as a pedestrian every second counts when catching a train/returning home at the end of a long day!

The plan is indicative of our ideas and comments received will be considered.

13. I note that the plans do not stretch as far as Avenue Road, where the pedestrian pathway meets the zebra crossing. When the flats were built recently, and the new road layout established, this path was closed for a very long time, and the developers did not even see fit to resurface the northern end of it. It is plagued by puddles in wet weather because it is lower than the surrounding grass and is not really wide enough when busy - which presumably it will be for the bowls competition. Could the plans be stretched just a little to widen and resurface this path, please?

Funding is only available for the station forecourt and underpass which are the focus of this public engagement. However, your request for footpath widening and resurfacing will be shared with WCC’s highways team.

14. There is no mention of short wait car parking, which is essential for dropping off and picking up rail passengers. The existing arrangements are very cramped and only suitable for smaller vehicles but do have the advantage of being right beside the station entrance. How will this requirement be catered for in the proposal? On the face of it the existing off-forecourt car parks offer no easy solution to the problem (unless, of course, Leamington reverts to being an "open" station - I am not aware if the present ticket gates do much beyond causing considerable congestion at busy times.

The plan includes short-term parking spaces for dropping off.

15. This is a substantial piece of work: if it doesn’t commence until late summer of next year can you be sure that it will be completed in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2022, as is the aim?

We endeavour to complete the scheme by early 2022 allowing enough time before the start of the Commonwealth Games. The contractor will be responsible for delivering the scheme on time.

16. Currently the detailed plan is impossible to view properly, and something of this magnitude deserves proper inspection. Please could you increase the size and resolution of the detailed plan image to allow everyone to do so?

This should now be resolved.

17. I would be interested to understand more detail on the contractor procurement strategy, and how we may be considered to participate in providing a proposal to deliver the works at Leamington station? What is the anticipated timeline for procurement i.e. PQQ/ITT, award, and mobilisation?

The works will be delivered through one of Network Rail’s contractors.

18. Will cycling be permitted in the underpass? This is not mentioned in the proposal. I am a cyclist, but I would like to emphasise that in general "shared" cycle + pedestrian paths do not work and are loathed by both groups. If cycling is permitted in the underpass the two modes need to be segregated and I doubt that there is sufficient width for this.

This will be discussed further in the detailed design stage.

19. What are the paving materials? In my opinion the paving pattern is over designed and too elaborate. A simple approach with one material that lasts 30+ years should be used. Please use natural stone and not a cheap concrete product. In my lifetime I have never seen this area developed so is a proper chance to get something that looks great for 50 plus years. What is the ecology and habitat creation story? We are in the midst of climate crisis and habitat die off - please reduce the amount of paving as much as possible and utilise rain gardens throughout. Planting should be great for bees and would like to see more hibernacula in the form of log-piles, rock piles and bee hotels. What is the planting maintenance strategy? Planting should also be tolerant of periods of drought. Finally, tree planting should be climate resilient and have generous space to grow (ie proper connected tree pits)

The paving materials have not been specified as this is still at an early design stage. The materials selected will be in keeping with the budget but will not be concrete. Types of planting has yet to be determined. Consideration is being given to the south facing location of the forecourt.

20. Has there been any pedestrian movement analysis? Proper pedestrian movement analysis by a consultant like Space Syntax should be consulted upon as currently the gateway access goes to an unattractive ramp and then once you're at the top where do you go?

Pedestrian movements have been considered as part of the early design work. Further reviews will be undertaken as the scheme design progresses.

21. Are you planning to remove the three pine trees on Lower Avenue? These are great and have character, they help soften a 'hard' junction and they should be incorporated into your design strategy as currently you are replacing for cycle parking. Please relook at this area.

There are no plans yet to remove any of the pine trees although their condition will be looked at.

22. How many parking spaces will be lost? The station forecourt can get very busy with cars needing a place to drop off and wait to pick train passengers. If spaces are lost as it appears from the plans, it will be more difficult to drop off and pick up passengers. So, from this perspective, the proposal is not helpful. Can the plan be reworked to increase the capacity for this important need? Secondly, the plan to route pedestrian through the underpass to reach the town centre means that the old town will lose out on custom. Could an alternative route via Bath Street be signposted just as clearly so that outlets can benefit from passing trade? The signs could also point out the attractions of the rest of the old town.

The forecourt parking spaces have been specified by the station operator. There is no plan to re-route station users, the plan is to improve routes. Wayfinding signs will play an important part in the station improvements and will help encourage routes through Bath Street where there is trade.

23. Is the station main building going to be cleaned up as it looks scruffy at the moment?

Chiltern Railways is looking into opportunities for funding restoration work of the station building e.g. painting the windows and re-pointing brickwork.

24. Trees along the boundary of the site are desirable. They need to be properly looked after and watered, especially at the start.

Any new planting would be looked after and watered especially at the start.

25. Is the zig-zag ramp currently available for the disabled to be retained? How will cyclists and motorbikes access the site?

Yes, the ramp will be retained for disabled access. Motorbikes will access the site the same way that all other motorised vehicles do via Old Warwick Road and the station forecourt vehicular ramp. Cyclists will access the site from most of the station access points available depending on where they arrive from although access from Old Warwick Road and the station vehicular ramp will be deterred.

26. Many travellers are afraid to use the subway at night. It is important to keep the exit to Lower Avenue; otherwise pedestrians will have to walk around as well as across the path of vehicles using the east end of the carpark. The cycle hub should not be located on the existing path exiting on Lower Avenue. Cycle theft from Leamington station forecourt has been a long-standing problem. The proposed two new open racks will only revive this problem.

The station underpass will be improved so that it is more attractive and feels safer to use. The closure of the Lower Avenue exit is an ambition and not a final decision. The proposal is to install an all enclosed cycle hub accessible by a swipe pass facility to provide secure cycle parking. The cycle hub will have CCTV and will be lit.

27. Travellers do not linger in a station forecourt. Either they are in a hurry to catch their train, or travellers arriving at the station are eager to get to their end destination

The main aim of the scheme is to create an improved sense of arrival at the station. It is also our aim to provide an area that is attractive and place to enjoy being in.

28. Trees take years to grow to a mature size. The existing healthy mature Cupressus at the east end of the car park should be retained

There are no plans as of yet to remove existing trees.

29. The echelon parking will improve the flow of cars within the car park. The plan should be adjusted so the short-term parking is also echelon, and the gain from the echelon parking as shown on the General arrangement is not lost. No provision for motor bicycle or scooters is shown. Why? The area below the vehicle ramp (where vehicle movement is difficult) could be an appropriate location.

The car parking arrangements are indicative however space within the car park is limited and echelon parking is not always achievable. The area below the vehicular ramp has been identified as being suitable for motorcycle and scooter parking. This will be included in future design plans.

30. The increase of pedestrian space around the exit the of the station building is particularly welcome. The bollards will give pedestrians a sense of safety. Extra bollards drop if necessary, at each end of the new pedestrian area will add to this sense of security.

More walking space on the forecourt and bollards to improve pedestrian safety are part of the scheme’s aim to better the experience of using the station.

31. Space must be provided for maintenance vehicles: near the foot of the ramp to the platform for Network Rail vehicles for equipment and employees working on the rail lines; and near the scissor gates for Train Operating Company working on the interior of the building, as well as for food and drink deliveries to the two platform cafés

Space will be maintained for vehicles needing to access the platform.

32. The railings along the lower boundary of the terraced garden are part of the heritage of the listed station. Structures within the curtilage of a listed building is listed. The railings are currently damaged and warrant restoring/repairing in accordance with their listed status.

The railings will be replaced like for like. Chiltern Railways will be applying to a heritage fund to enable this work to be undertaken.

33. What data does WCC have on the number of pedestrians arriving from each direction at the station? Can such figures be made public?

We do not have data for the directions of pedestrian travel to the station. We do however know that most pedestrian movements are from the north of the station.

34. Does the planned new paving respect the striking art deco design of the station? The illustrated design is in conflict with the listed building. It would be desirable to complete cleaning of the Portland stone. All was done except immediately over the entrance. Many people admire the pine trees by the proposed cycle parking area. The plan suggest that they might remain, but it is not clear on the plan. It would be good to have the ramp resurfaced as the surface is obviously breaking up. I love our station and its beautiful garden.

The paving illustrated in the general arrangement plan is indicative of what could be provided. This will be looked at in more detail as we progress into preliminary and detailed design. The cost of the paving will obviously dictate what we can achieve. There currently no plans to remove the trees near the proposed cycle hub area.

35. It is unclear how many of the parking spaces shown will be 'short stay'. The redesign is an ideal opportunity to solve the problem of congestion in the evening when cars struggle to find space to park when picking up commuters and queues often stretch back onto the road. Maximisation of short stay spaces would prevent this whilst ensuring they are wide enough to enter and exit easily would facilitate better traffic flow. In addition, the area shown on the plan as ''short-term' on the plan needs to be 'set down / pick up only'

The amount of parking spaces is not yet finalised. As we work on preliminary and detailed designs for the forecourt, we will determine exactly how many spaces we have for ‘set down/pick up only’.

36. Many years ago, all cycle storage was moved from the car park onto the platforms due to many cycles being stolen from the rack in the car park (often in the early hours of the morning). How will this be prevented when cycle storage is once again located in an even more remote location in the car park?

The cycle storage will be in the form of a cycle hub which is fully enclosed and accessible by a swipe card facility. To add to this the cycle hub will be lit and have CCTV in operation. Funding for the cycle hub has been secured from the Department for Transport to provide the cycle hub on the station forecourt.

37. The taxi rank needs to be longer to be able to accommodate more waiting taxis. At the moment it would appear very likely that access to the bus drop off will be obstructed by vehicles queuing to access the rank.

Holding areas for taxis are something we are looking into.

38. There seems to be too much 'pattern' in the design of the paving and subway walls which clashes with the clear lines of the station building.

The illustrations are only indicative of what could be provided. The final patterns/designs will be carefully considered in the scheme’s later design stages.

39. Please take into consideration that the 'Public Realm with Raised Planters and Sitting Area' does away with a much-needed parking area for delivery vehicles often parked for upwards of 30 minutes. These deliver regular supplies to the vending machines and the platform cafés. You do not want such vehicles clogging up the area designated for buses and taxis.

Planners should take note of the fact that just a HANDFUL of people out of the 7,000-odd using the station daily spend any time lingering on the station forecourt. The forecourt is a busy transit area and benches and planters will not change it. The benches will be little used and because of their proximity to the station buildings are most likely to be fouled by pigeons so will need regular cleaning - by whom?!

The plan shows that the well-used footpath at the Eastern end will be done away to accommodate a 'Cycle Hub and Shared Area'. I suggest this would be much better positioned at the Western end where 5 parallel car parking spaces are shown. Those spaces are very hard to access from the entrance ramp and therefore would provide a good alternative space for the Cycle Hub.

All these planters with trees in them look very attractive on the plan BUT they will need copious quantities of water i.e. regular maintenance. What chance they will get it!!! If planners insist on having planters, then they should be limited to one or two NOT 10 as shown on the plan,

The amount of space allocated for taxis seems insufficient and radically reduced from the present layout. This is a recipe for disastrous congestion which will undo all the objectives of the plan to make the forecourt a more attractive and welcoming introduction to the town.

In summary the improvements should meet the primary need of the forecourt to remain a space for the safe, rapid and efficient transit of vehicles dropping off and picking up passengers.

The station forecourt will remain a place for vehicles to drop off and pick up passengers. No disruption to current vehicles serving the station is intended. To provide the cycle hub in the west end of the station car park would mean cyclists having to travel across the length of the car park and for safety reasons we want to avoid this. Planting will help improve the appearance of the station forecourt area. All new planting will be carefully considered and above all will be low maintenance.

40. The underpass has always been an eyesore. Limited space, limited height, limited light and overall dowdy. Is there anything more imaginative that can be done under these circumstances.

Improvements to the underpass will need to ensure the structure is not compromised in any way, allow for the structure to be easily accessed for maintenance purposes and enable drainage of rain water. What is possible to achieve will be delivered.

41. I cannot see where the buses and taxis will go, and what happens to the car parking? Will there be a better bus service to the station to and from all parts of the town?

Taxis will use the forecourt as they currently do, and public bus services will continue to operate along Old Warwick Road. There are little changes to car parking apart from short stay parking will be moved and, in its place, will be disabled parking bays.

The Leamington Spa Station Improvement Scheme is focussed on infrastructure improvements to the station forecourt and underpass, bus service improvements are outside of the scope of this scheme.

42. One of my main concerns is that the existing pathway to Lower Avenue and Bath Street will be blocked. Many people use this pathway to get to the lower end of town, Jephson Gardens and the shops. Another issue is that the Station entrance off Old Warwick Road is too narrow making it difficult to get into the station by bike, bus or car. It should be the same width as the exit. Who is going to water the proposed trees in planters as access to water will be within the station building? Safe access for cyclists has not been considered. It will be difficult for them to use the main vehicular access from Old Warwick Road. The alternative via the Pedestrian Gateway Access is unsafe if disabled people or parents with young children are using the ramp at the same time.

The general arrangement plan is indicative of what the station could look like. Any new planting will be carefully considered in terms of maintenance. Cyclists will be discouraged from using the existing vehicular ramp access. Alternative access is provided by the pedestrian gateway ramp.

43. I consider that the closure of the footpath to Lower Avenue will be a serious mistake. As others have commented, cycle storage was moved up onto the platforms (at some cost) precisely to improve security. I can see no virtue in putting it back to the forecourt other than to assist vandals and thieves.And, if you're relocating the plinth, please remove the picture of the original L&NWR station of 1844 which is claimed to be Leamington General! 

Funding to deliver an enclosed cycle hub on Leamington Spa Station has been secured by Chiltern Railways. The funding is specifically to deliver an enclosed cycle hub that will be based on the station forecourt. The cycle storage hub will provide a new cycle facility that gives the station extra cycle storage capacity and reduces the need for cyclists to take bicycles through the station building.

44. When I originally looked at the plan it seemed to me that it needs joining up to the rest of town. Presumably pedestrians will be encouraged to use the tunnel, but the scheme ends where it reaches the turning bay of the recent housing development with a narrow pavement. If you turn left towards the Leam footbridge there is then a muddy short-cut to the north. Not exactly a great welcome to town, and pointless if done in isolation.

The Leamington Spa Station Improvement Scheme is being delivered as part of a suite of measures to improve travel from the station to the town centre and Victoria Park where the Commonwealth Games bowls and para bowls competitions will be held in July 2022. Pedestrian and cycle routes to and from the station will be improved under a scheme being delivered by Warwick District Council. For further information please visit Warwick District Council’s website.

45. Please consider adding emphasis on zero emissions vehicles, taxis and buses and potentially add rapid chargers for use in the short stay parking, this would be an amazing asset for passengers and taxi/bus companies as we move towards electric transport. Please also consider adding enforcement for engine idling in the car park, you talk about making the forecourt welcome but from experience it won’t be much better with cars just sitting with their engines on polluting the air and making a foul atmosphere to step out of the station into.

As part of the Leamington Spa Station Improvement Scheme we will explore installing underground cabling for future electric vehicle charging points to be connected to.

46. Is the existing pedestrian ramp from Old Warwick Road going to be removed? It used to pose a safety risk as it became very icy, if not, what are you doing to ensure this does not happen again after the improvement?

The existing pedestrian ramp will be reviewed. The safety of the ramp during icy periods will be taken on board.

47. Where can one pick up and drop off rail passengers plus their luggage? It works perfectly well at the moment.

The plan includes a pickup and drop off point which is next to the taxi waiting area.

48. What are the detailed plans for improving cycling infrastructure including cycle parking and security provision? Do the plans retain the existing facilities for cycle parking on the platforms?

The proposed cycle hub will be fully secured. The cycle hub will include CCTV, lighting and a swipe card facility for access. The existing cycle storage on the station platforms will be retained.

49. The proposed visualisation looks exciting and I get the impression something of the character of the existing station will remain - if that is correct then I'm a supporter, as it seems to open 'things' up and give the overall character a contemporary look, and makes the station one that will be able to cope with the enormity of future use, as people use cars less, to get from A to Z.

This is an exciting scheme and an opportunity to raise the appearance and the experience of the station.

50. Station underpass: do not reinstate the paintings on board that currently line the walls.

It is likely a new home will be found for the murals that currently line the walls of the underpass.

51. Your 'artist's impression' shows the forecourt in warm sunny weather. The reality of train travel is more likely to be rushed, time-limited and searching for contacts, often in wet or windy weather or in the dark. Are you planning for adequate external roofing to allow travellers to wait to be met - and for the drivers to wait who are having to park much further away now? External seating under cover? A covered walkway to the car park? If you are to encourage train travel it must include convenient arrangements for personal meeting, not just links with taxis, buses and cycles. What lighting is planned for the tunnel (and indeed the forecourt) to ensure night travellers are safe?

Pedestrian travellers often trail suitcases: (a) you appear to have allocated cyclists and pedestrians the same routes - this will inconvenience both, (b) you do not mention graduated ramps to pavement level (maybe there are no changes of level?), (c) block paving is difficult to wheel cases on (particularly 4-wheeled ones which are designed to help older people or heavier bags) and can cause shoulder discomfort - will the new surface be smooth?

New rain proof sheltering will not be provided outside of the station building. The station building is grade listed as is the station curtilage. New lighting will be provided in the underpass to improve visibility and safety. Block paving will only be used where there is vehicular traffic. Larger paving will be used in areas for pedestrians and cyclists.

52. Changing the name of the station (i.e. with the addition of Royal) as one contributor suggests would be stupid because all timetables refer to Leamington Spa. Moreover, when you look the town up in any index you don't find it under R - we should drop the Royal altogether!

There are no plans under this scheme to change the name of the station.

53. Temporary parking for drop-down and pick-up must be retained - indeed increased if possible. Oblique parking would help. The forecourt may be PLANNED for the Commonwealth Games, but the people of Leamington and the wider district will be its customers long after the Games are finished: remember it is a local amenity. Don't let it turn into a vanity project (just because the money is there, if it is).

Pick up and drop off will be retained as part of the scheme. The scheme aim is to provide improvements that have a legacy beyond the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

54. Will there be up-to-date bus information, similar to that which is standard in all railway stations in Greater London?

This will be discussed with the station operator, Chiltern Railways

55. Please ensure greenery is an essential part of the project and not a 'nice to have' i.e could be lost if time or budget constraints emerge. Are there any plans for a green wall similar to the one outside Birmingham New Street station? Likewise, please ensure secure, covered cycle storage areas are included, fit for purpose and not an afterthought. So often with schemes like this we see the above lose out to prioritising vehicle access.

Planting will play an important part in improving the appearance of the station forecourt. New low maintenance planting is being considered. A secure cycle hub with CCTV, lighting and swipe card access will be provided on the station forecourt.

56. Surely the need for vehicles in the forecourt relates to taxis, disabled parking and pick-up, drop-off. I see that there is already comment on the poor proposals for pick-up and drop-off. There should be no 'ordinary' parking in this area when the revised nearby carpark is functional. This might be the transport authority’s decision, but it needs challenging. All these other spaces could be better used for short-term parking.

Parking allocations on the station forecourt are not set by Warwickshire the County Council. A pickup and drop point is included in the scheme.

57. Can you please create some rules that state taxis are not allowed to idle on the station forecourt? The team at the station must suffer so much and it's awful just buying a ticket from the machines outside.

This can be passed on to the station operator, Chiltern Railways, for their consideration.