A new car park could be built on part of the Delapre Abbey site in Northampton to cope with an expected 40,000 visitors a year when it re-opens in 2016.
Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust has opened public consultation on plans to develop an area of land which it says will have the most limited impact..
The trust will re-open the abbey after a £6.3 million restoration project in the summer of next year. It will be the first time in 900 years that the building will be accessible by the public.
The trust has investigated a number of different options, looking at the historic significance of the site, as well as practical issues regarding flooding and drainage.
An area called ‘Northern Field’ has been earmarked, which the trust says is the most viable option due to its accessibility and limited impact on the environment. There is also a requirement for an overflow car park elsewhere on the site.
Plans show it will use ‘grasscrete’ which combines grass and concrete as the surface for the car park.
There is currently parking for 40 cars at the abbey and designers are determining how many car parking spaces would be created in the new area.
The trust is also looking at using the 19th-century stable block area as parking for staff and volunteers, to maximise the number of spaces for visitors.
Consultation is now open and there is due to be a planning application submitted by the end of next month.
A spokesperson for the trust said: “Part of the work currently underway during the restoration project is the consideration of how the Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust will manage the additional parking needed as Delapre Abbey enters this exciting new phase in its life.
“For the past six months Northampton Borough Council and the Delapre Abbey Trust has been looking at various proposals both for the siting of additional day to day parking on site and overflow parking capacity. As part of this work discussions regarding the best design are underway with Historic England, the Environment Agency and local stakeholder organisations,” the spokesperson added.
To find out more, visit the trust’s website www.delapreabbey.org. Plans are also on display in the offices at Delapre Abbey or Far Cotton Library.