A robust strategy is needed for Leamington town centre to offset the loss of hundreds of car parking spaces which would be caused by the proposed development of a new council headquarters.
This is the view of Warwick District Council leader Cllr Andrew Mobbs in response to concerns and objections raised about the plan which would involve the temporary closure and redevelopment of Covent Garden car park and the loss of 468 spaces in the town centre over a two-year period.
Cllr Mobbs said: “We fully understand the need for a robust parking displacement strategy and we are currently working on that ahead of the planning application being considered, as it is something the council take extremely seriously.
“The development of the Covent Garden site will bring significant economic benefits to the town centre and its businesses in terms of increased footfall and the improvement of a vital gateway site.
“We believe that the majority of residents welcome these benefits and support the regeneration proposals.
“All major town centre developments involve temporary disruption and car parking is a major part of that.
“We are confident that we will have a robust car parking displacement plan to minimise the disruption and we will be consulting with the BID and the Chamber of Trade to ensure their views and comments are heard and taken into account.”
The Leamington Chamber of Trade has voted to lodge a formal objection to the plan on grounds of “no clear displacement plan” being currently in place and a loss of about “30 per cent of parking spaces”.
Members are being asked to comment about the impact the loss of parking could have on their businesses before the chamber submits its official response to the district council at the end of the month.
Several Labour councillors have also been critical of the project.
Labour Group leader Cllr Colin Quinney said: “Retailers are right to be angry - there’s is no car parking displacement submitted with this project and surely that is necessary before embarking on this scheme?”
“The numbers don’t add up.
The proposed rebuild with around 600 spaces does not take into account any future growth of the town, the need for the 44 apartments to have parking as well as the 300+ WDC staff who will be working there.
“Where is everyone going to park?”
The application will go before the district council’s planning committee in January.