Chessington World of Adventures has revealed plans to upgrade its parking to stop visitors’ cars getting stuck in mud and causing tailbacks. The popular theme park in South London wants to transform one of its southern car parks after customers complained about the issues.
Owner Merlin Entertainments has submitted plans to surface part of Chessington’s Macaw Car Park, which can be accessed from Leatherhead Road, to withstand all weather conditions. The site is currently grass and the parking area is unmarked. The scheme would see the car park formalised, leading to a reduction in its capacity from 593 spaces to 500 spaces. The resort has around 5,100 car parking spaces overall.
The proposed works include creating surfaced parking bays and aisles in the car park, along with surfacing the western track linking its entry and exit points. Its surface water drainage system would also be improved, while new trees would be planted. The parking bays would be laid out in a more uniform arrangement to improve the flow of vehicles.
A report submitted to Kingston Council warned Chessington must improve to continue its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing economic uncertainties, including by investing in its infrastructure which is “critical” to operations. It revealed the car park can remain “damaged for much of the year” as cars “inadvertently churn up the surface and create ruts”.
The report said: “The proposed surfacing will address an existing major shortcoming that occurs during periods of wet weather when cars often get stuck in the mud and experience difficulties getting into and out of the parking areas, causing tailbacks onto Leatherhead Road. This undermines the safe and efficient operation of the Macaw Car Park and has led to negative guest feedback for many years.”
Chessington hopes to complete the upgrade this autumn, if the plans are approved. It may also consider upgrading some of its other southern car parks in the future, subject to further funding and planning permission. Kingston Council will make a decision on the proposals for Macaw Car Park in due course.
Image: Chessington World of Adventures Resort, Chessington. Credit: Charlotte Lillywhite/LDRS