RURAL park and ride schemes could be introduced to transform the ‘substandard’ transport links between isolated villages and Chester.
Nine potential sites have been suggested for areas including Tarporley, Malpas, Farndon and Delamere, and a pilot scheme could be in operation by 2014.
Other potential sites closer to the city centre have been earmarked for Tarvin, Saughall and Mickle Trafford, creating what would be known as a ‘Cheshire West Rural Metro’.
The proposal forms part of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s (CWaC) massive Rural Regeneration Strategy and Action Plan.
The authority will look to progress on the proposal once they have assessed the feedback from the public when the 12-week consultation period comes to an end on Monday (June 20).
And a rural conference will be held at Oulton Park on Thursday (June 23) for parish and town councillors, as well as stakeholders, to find out more information.
The action plan document, which can be viewed on the CWaC website, says: “Whilst some opponents to park and ride are concerned that the concept simply shifts congestion issues to the rural area, it is considered that careful site selection, design and management can alleviate such issues.
“In total, nine potential park and ride sites have been suggested. However, it is not just the location of the park and ride site that is important it is the destination served.
“In most cases this may be Chester although it is envisaged that there is the potential to provide linkages to key employment sites such as the Chester Business Park, other miniature hubs or cross boundary towns such as Wrexham.”
Councillor Herbert Manley, executive member for prosperity, said: “We all know that access in rural areas is not ideal and hasn’t been in the past. Park and ride is only a suggestion that has gone out to consultation
“We’re awaiting the results of the consultation, the strategy will then be looked at and revised. We aim to ensure that we can sustain the rural communities we’ve got for the future.”
Another proposal in the accessibility section of the strategy is to create a ‘service hub’ at high schools in Tarporley and Malpas where residents can access council services and education, healthcare and employment facilities.