CHANGES to the 353-space Portland Bill car park have been approved – resulting in the loss of a hundred spaces.

The changes include a new access and layout with entry and exit barrier which will put an end to people not paying to park.

Paying has also not been helped by what the Crown Estate says is poor internet in the area to make the link to ticket machines and the lack of a decent phone signal allowing those with a parking app’ to pay on their phones.

Other changes include new walkways for pedestrians, new ticket machines, cycle parking and electric vehicle charging points.

The Crown Estate say the changes will improve safety by: “regularising the car park spacing, increasing and enhancing the disabled parking spaces, increasing the aisle widths for moving cars and creating designated areas for pedestrians to safely flow around the car park.”

The car park, which the estate admits is in a poor state of repair, has six spaces for buses, eight for motorhomes and ten spaces for motorcycles. Two of the bus and coach spaces will be lost by the changes and three of the motorhome/caravan spaces.

The motorcycle spaces will be moved to the south western corner of the site, near to the public toilets and space for 20 bicycles created along the southern edge of the car park, closest to the lighthouse and Lobster Pot café. A dozen disabled access spaces will also be moved to the southern edge of the car park.

The design brief allows for increased aisle spaces from 4.6 to 6metres and will also enlarge many of the parking spaces as well as install electric vehicle charging points at the northern end of the car park.

Overall the number of spaces will reduce to 248 because of the changes, but the estate says that even at peak times this should be more than adequate.

Portland Town Council and the majority of those who responded to the consultation on the plans were positive about the changes.

The car park was previously leased to Dorset Council but from April this year its operation reverted to the Crown Estate with no immediate changes in prices.

The Estate says it intends to carry out the changes, including re-surfacing, in the quieter autumn or winter months with the intention of keeping the car park operational throughout.

Illustration  - New Portland Bill car park layout.

Illustration – Aerial picture of the car park.