Rolls-Royce Motor Cars last night unveiled plans at the Westhampnett Parish Council meeting for a new dedicated car park for The March CE Primary School.
The district’s largest employer wants to build a gated parking area – including a ‘kiss and drop-off area’ and 40 dedicated parking spaces – as part of a wider car park development on land adjacent to the company’s manufacturing plant and head office.
Andrew Ball, head of corporate relations at Rolls-Royce, said: “We were aware that parking outside The March CE Primary School – like most local schools – has been problematical for some time, and with child safety foremost in our minds we were keen to help.
“The design of our proposed new car park has incorporated a dedicated area for the school from the outset, and we have worked closely with the headteacher to incorporate specific requirements.
“The success of the company, and the resulting growth in employee and visitor numbers, has resulted in the need for additional parking.
“Our extended travel plan, including significant investment in off-site parking and shuttle buses, has had positive impact but we know that we need to find a permanent solution.
“Our new parking proposal will create an additional 500 parking spaces, adjacent to the manufacturing plant.
“The school’s new car park, however, is not a planning condition – it was our own initiative – and demonstrates our desire to be a good neighbour and community citizen.”
Headteacher, Nicky Metcalfe said: “The March CE Primary School are thrilled to be working closely with Rolls-Royce – the plans for additional parking address a huge problem on a busy road.
“The safety of children is always paramount to the school and this parking development will assist in minimising the chance of an accident and alleviate the stress for motorists and parents that we all feel in drop-off and pick-up times.”
Chichester MP, Gillian Keegan, said: “Great news that Rolls-Royce is investing in its home here in Chichester.
“It is amazing that they are sharing their success with the wider community by giving 40 car parking spaces to the local March CE Primary School to make drop-offs and pick-ups safer for the children.”
Jeremy Hunt, county councillor for Chichester North, said: “For some time now I have been concerned about the traffic situation around the March School at drop off and pick up times.
“The county council has provided a school safety zone, together with some additional parking restrictions, which has helped the situation, but not solved it.
“I am therefore delighted that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars are proposing, as part of a larger parking provision, to provide the school with its own car park. I’m certain this initiative will be welcomed by the school, parents and concerned residents alike.
“I know that Rolls-Royce have worked tirelessly to ensure that any impact on their neighbours is minimised.
“Despite their extensive travel plan, and their best efforts, there has no doubt been an increase in parking on the neighbouring roads.
“I therefore welcome Rolls-Royce’s latest plan which will increase their parking provision by around 500 extra spaces with, I believe, minimum impact on the residents of Westhampnett.
“That is, apart from the reduction in parking on the local roads which I’m certain will be welcomed.”
“I therefore fully support this initiative by Rolls-Royce, particularly the proposal to provide the March School with its own car park, where the children can safely be dropped off and collected from school.”
Development of the new car park is planned to start in early 2018 following completion of the local authority planning process.