PLANS have been put forward by First Great Western to build a new 197-space car park close to Hanborough railway station.

The station’s 50-space car park is often full by 6.45am and dozens of drivers park on the grass verges along the A4095 and outside nearby residents’ homes.

FGW is seeking funding for the car park on a nearby former plant hire depot, next to North Oxford Garage’s Mini showroom and body shop.

Blenheim Estates purchased the site, off the A4095 Main Road, formerly owned by Hewden, in March and is in discussions with FGW about converting it into a car park.

But the plan hinges on FGW securing a grant from a Network Rail station improvement fund, which is expected be decided at a meeting on May 10.

If the scheme does go ahead, drivers would be charged to use the station’s car parking spaces, with the county council putting no-waiting restrictions in place on nearby roads and the verges.

Colin Dingwall, West Oxfordshire District Council member for Freeland and Hanborough, has been working on finding a solution to the parking problem for three years.

He said: “It is of the utmost importance. The situation down there is dangerous and is a tremendous nuisance for all the people who live in the area.

“It is also a nuisance for all the people who want to travel by train to relieve the congested roads.”

Mr Dingwall is also working on a scheme to build a housing development in a field alongside the railway line, which would combine affordable housing with a 100-space car park for rail users.

Cotswold Line Promotion Group Hanborough representative Andrew Wilkins said: “I’ve counted more than 70 cars parked along the A4095, which is very annoying for residents but also creates a danger with cars backing out on to the road.”

The number of passengers using Hanborough station has grown by almost 50 per cent since 2005, from 70,500 journeys starting or ending there in 2005-6 to 104,000 journeys in 2009-10.

FGW spokesman James Davis said: “For customers to make the most of the services that First Great Western offers, providing suitable parking facilities can only be of benefit.”

Blenheim Estates property director Roger File said: “We have acquired the Hewden site as a commercial investment.

“We have a number of options, one of which is to do something with Network Rail, subject to their grant coming through.

“We would rather help solve the traffic problems than something that does not offer that benefit.”

The change of use would need to gain planning permission from West Oxfordshire District Council.