THERE are fears a proposed copper-clad multi-storey car park could be vulnerable to theft.
Network Rail has lodged plans with Cheshire West and Chester Council for a nine-storey structure next to the Grade II* listed railway station to provide 377 desperately needed spaces for train passengers.
In keeping with the revamped station, the £9m car park would be copper-clad, but brown in colour rather than the green copper oxide tones of the station interior.
But four copper panels were stolen from the rear of Costa Coffee within the station concourse earlier this year.
Richard Cole, objecting to the multi-storey plan, was mainly concerned about the ‘excessive’ height and scale of the car park, which he claimed would overshadow the Victorian station.
But he added: “The selected cladding is inappropriate for its setting, and has already been proven to be ugly, impractical and vulnerable to theft.”
The copper theft even prompted a humorous letter in Private Eye from a ‘Dr B Ching’ who could not understand the choice of material given the ‘rail industry has suffered a growing problem of copper-cable theft’.
Network Rail says the car park design was chosen based on the preference of the council’s head of planning Chris Hindle.
Spokesman Keith Lumley added: “As for the copper cladding, the new MSCP will be built to achieve ParkMark accreditation. This includes full CCTV coverage as well as suitable lighting, eliminating ‘blind spots’.
“Furthermore, the close proximity of the MSCP to the running line dictates that regular security checks are undertaken by station staff. Staff will also be able to lock the car park out of use when the station is closed which should help minimise opportunities for theft.”