‘Half-baked’ Abbey Fields pay and display plans approved
A CONTROVERSIAL pay and display car park for Abbey Fields has been given the go ahead despite being described as “half-baked”.
Warwick District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday approved the application to turn Abbey Fields’ Bridge Street car park into a car park with 109 spaces.
But officials will have to come up with a way of improving drainage from the site to prevent flooding on nearby land by the tennis courts, which is used for the fun fair during carnival week.
Speaking as ward councillor, Cllr Ann Blacklock (Lib Dem, Kenilworth Abbey) claimed it was a “myth” that commuters used the car park, arguing that park users, residents who could find no on-street spaces and shop staff would suffer.
She said the drainage would direct water onto Abbey Fields, a scheduled ancient monument.
She added: “This application is an attempt to solve a problem with a solution that would create more and worse problems.”
Resident Steven Hobbins called for better drainage, claiming four fairs had nearly been cancelled because of waterlogged ground.
Bernard Rogers said the scheme was out of keeping with the area and offered a “very poor” return on investment, with annual revenue of £15,000 less than one tenth of the £155,000 cost.
He said the scheme did the opposite of car parking strategy in Leamington in that it would drive people onto streets, and lead to losses among businesses.
Cllr Bertie Mackay (Ind, Stoneleigh) asked if anyone had “any idea” about drainage, while commitee chairman George Illingworth called the scheme “half-baked” but argued the district council as landowner was in a position to do something about the drainage.
Cllr Alan Wilkinson (Lab, Leamington Brunswick said: “We can’t implement something and not be responsible for the consequences.”
Cllr Linda Bromley (Con, Warwick South) said it was “horrendous” to lose up to 30 spaces, but officers argued that formal parking bays were better than current arrangements and would protect trees.
Parking will be free for the first two hours with visitors limited to six hours. Charges will be in force Monday to Saturday from 8am to 6pm, with permits for residents and businesses to be investigated.
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Weather for Kenilworth
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 15 C
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