Chessington World of Adventures to make upgrades to stop visitors’ cars getting ‘stuck in mud and causing tailbacks’

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Chessington World of Adventures will upgrade its parking to stop visitors’ cars getting stuck in mud and causing tailbacks after Kingston Council approved the plans. Visitors to the popular theme park in South London had complained about the issues for many years.

The scheme from owner Merlin Entertainments will see Chessington’s Macaw Car Park, which can be accessed from Leatherhead Road, formalised – leading to a reduction in its capacity from 593 to 500 spaces. The site is currently grass and the parking area is unmarked. The resort has around 5,100 car parking spaces overall.

The council’s planning committee unanimously approved the plans on March 20 after expressing support for the major attraction. Conservative councillor Rowena Bass said: “I think we need to support one of the biggest attractions and main employers and businesses in the borough.”

The 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 will also be improved, while new trees will be planted. The parking bays will be laid out in a more uniform arrangement to improve the flow of vehicles.

A report submitted with the application warned Chessington must improve in order 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 by autumn. It may also consider upgrading some of its other southern car parks in the future, subject to further funding and planning permission.


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