BID Leamington reacts to council's decision to postpone HQ plan

The Covent Garden car park in Leamington would be closed, demolished and redeveloped as part of Warwick District Council's HQ relocation plans.
The Covent Garden car park in Leamington would be closed, demolished and redeveloped as part of Warwick District Council's HQ relocation plans.

BID Leamington has welcomed Warwick District Council's decision to postpone its controversial project to relocate its headquarters in the town centre until July at the earliest.

BID, which represents businesses in the town, had made a joint call with Royal Leamington Spa Chamber of Trade for the council (WDC) to postpone the project until January 2020 to allow time for the authority's displacement parking plan to be fully implemented, together with a robust communications plan.

This was in order to reduce the impact the closure and redevelopment of the Covent Garden car park, which provides hundreds of spaces, will have on traders.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said: “BID Leamington supports positive investment in the town centre and recognises the need to renew the multi-storey car park but strongly believes that a collaborative and innovative solution to displacement parking needs to be in place before Covent Garden is closed.

“We felt a delay until January 2020 would give WDC the opportunity to resolve critical issues, open new car parks including Station Approach which is due in November, and might also allow time for other parts of the scheme to be reviewed if necessary.

“We hope the time afforded by WDC’s postponement until July can also be used to address other concerns which have been raised by ourselves and the wider community.

“Any delay must not compromise the commitment that has previously been made by WDC to ensure the redevelopment of Covent Garden does not go over two Christmas trade periods.”