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Rain garden part of a range of improvements at Wantage car park

Published 9 July 2024

A rain garden is being installed at Portway car park to help manage rainwater and prevent overwhelming the drains during times of heavy rain.

The work will be part of a major refurbishment of the car park which will begin on Monday 22 July and last for around eight weeks. During that time parking spaces will be significantly restricted at the site. Pedestrian access will be maintained, although access will be limited for around a week between 26 August to 1 September whilst final surfacing is completed.

The public toilets at the site will be open for the duration of the work (although access will also be limited during the final surfacing phase).

The project, delivered by Vale of White Horse District Council in partnership with Thames Water, will also improve the parking surface, lighting and biodiversity at the car park.

A rain garden collects water that runs off a car park surface rather than allowing it to pool and overwhelm the drains. The plants and soil then filter the rain resulting in cleaner water going into the water table below.

Diagram of how a rain garden works. It shows rain falling on the car park, running along gullies to the rain garden and filtering through the plants, soil and gravel. The plants also help evaporate the water into the air.

Image above shows how a rain garden works.

Alongside the rain garden, the car park will be resurfaced to remove potholes making a better experience for users.

Improved resurfacing and lighting will help to make the car park safer for all users, as will a marked shared pedestrian footpath through the car park for users and pedestrians walking through.

The works will also lead to an increase in green spaces, including along the footpath, that will result in increased biodiversity.

Councillor Mark Coleman, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Waste, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work alongside Thames Water to provide a natural solution to help reduce overwhelming the drains in this well-used car park.

“The work also means those who use the car park will benefit from a safer, greener, brighter facility.  I’m particularly delighted that there will be an increase in green spaces as we know how important they are for improving mental wellbeing.

“I appreciate there may be some inconvenience to users while the work takes place and I’d like to thank them in advance for their patience. The wait will be worth it.”

Those wishing to park in the town are advised to use alternative car parks at Limborough Road (OX12 9AJ) or Mill Street (OX12 9AJ). Car parking permits for Portway will be valid at these sites during this time.

For further information visit the Portway car park webpage.