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Thursday, March 12, 1998 Published at 07:20 GMT


Brakes put on Althorp car park
image: [ Thousands of visitors are expected at the Althorp estate this summer ]
Thousands of visitors are expected at the Althorp estate this summer

Plans for a car park outside the walls of the Althorp estate where Diana, Princess of Wales, is buried have been put on hold after angry objections from residents in the nearby village.

Earl Spencer had planned the 500-space car park to cater for the tourists expected at his Northamptonshire estate this summer.

He also has plans for one-way systems and further car parks to cope with the large number of visitors heading for Althorp.

Up to 152,000 are expected to attend the Diana Memorial Concert in June and thousands of pre-booked visitors will arrive at the park.

Members of Daventry District Council's planning committee had been expected to approve the plans despite strong local opposition.

But the village parish council demanded to know why alternative schemes like a park-and-ride or the reopening of Althorp's defunct railway station were not being considered.

Planning councillors then voted by eight votes to five to defer the application until the impact of this summer's opening at the estate could be assessed.

Earl Spencer can appeal against the decision, or choose to use a field as a car park.

The deferral brought a strong reaction from his estate, which would have paid for the car park development.

Spokesperson Shelley-Anne Claircourt said the decision meant additional planned work to improve access to the estate would no longer go ahead.

"We are astonished that our offer to provide a car park and road improvements to protect villagers has been rejected," she said.

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