Leamington car parking strategy will fall “woefully short” campaigners say

The parking area in Archery Road
The parking area in Archery Road

Campaigners have again expressed concerns that Warwick District Council’s parking displacement strategy as part of its Leamington headquarters move project will fall “woefully short” in terms of the number of spaces it needs to provide.

The parking displacement strategy is intended to mitigate the loss of parking in the town centre during the demolition and rebuild of the 592 space Covent Garden car park, as part of the council’s HQ relocation plans.

BID Leamington, representing the town’s business community, and residents’ campaign group Save Leamington From Warwick District Council have previously voiced concerns about the planned parking provision being inadequate in capacity, too distant from town centre shops and businesses and spread across too many sites.

At the Council’s executive committee meeting in July, it was proposed that 50 additional spaces would be provided in Princes Drive, 60 at Archery Road and 92 at Court Street, giving a total of 202 additional spaces across these three car parks.

But Save Leamington members are now drawing attention to the revised plans which show that around only half of these additional spaces will be provided.

Group member Luke Noel-Storr said: “The parking displacement strategy agreed by the council’s executive committee appeared woefully inadequate to begin with. “It now appears that the council is failing to even deliver on that.”

Other parts of the displacement strategy include allowing non-council staff to use the authority’s Riverside House headquarters’ car park an opening it up for shoppers to use for free at weekends during the Christmas period starting in the middle of November.

Changes to parking charges at St Peter’s car park to encourage longer-stay use are also being considered.

The authority is also working with Warwickshire County Council to “explore opportunities” to increase on-street car parking capacity in the town.

The council’s Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Services, Councillor Moira-Ann Grainger has said that the plans are still are work in progress.

Cllr Grainger said: “We are continuing to progress the Leamington Car Park Displacement Plan, which includes a number of initiatives to support the proposed rebuilding of Covent Garden multi-storey Car Park, planned to commence early next year.

“The additional car parking proposed for Princes Drive, Court Street and Archery Road is currently going through the planning process which will determine the number of spaces that can be provided. “Warwick District Council is working closely with BID Leamington, Leamington Chamber of Trade and a number of other stakeholders to refine the displacement plan in the coming weeks.”