Suggestions to turn a car park in Leamington town centre into a multi-storey as part of a strategy to cover the loss of spaces while Warwick District Council’s new headquarters are built have been dismissed.
At a meeting of the council’s executive committee at Leamington Town Hall last week, members approved proceeding with sites suggested as part of a parking displacement strategy to make up for some of the shortfall of almost 470 spaces when the headquarters are moved on to the site of the ailing Covent Garden multi-storey – which will also be rebuilt and expanded in the process.
But members mentioned the Chandos Street suggestion, made by BID Leamington and also by Labour councillors, and explained why this is not an option the council will consider any further.
Cllr Moira-Ann Grainger, who is the portfolio holder for neighbourhood services, said that suggestions put forward had been considered in a car parking strategy consultation last year.
She added: “We talked about adding a stack on to Chandos Street about 18 months ago, which would have given us time to actually deliver one of these stacks and the officers went away to investigate properly and they came back with the knowledge that to put any formal construction on that piece of land would completely remove it from being available for any future development.
“The substructure underneath the car park would have to be filled and that would make that piece of land very very difficult for a developer to take on.
“I would also remind the public that there was an application for a development on the site with underground car parking which they objected to yet they want this type of a car park there which does not make sense.”
Cllr Peter Whiting, who is the portfolio holder for finance, said the matter of parking displacement had been given careful consideration and that the proposals had ‘not been dreamt up lightly’.
He said the decisions made by councillors on the matter would not please everybody but that it was their role to push forward with proposals which they think will be ‘optimal’ for the entire community.
He said the council should look in to pricing regimes which would encourage car users to park in the best place possible for their needs which would, in turn, minimise congestion in the town.
But he added: “If you factor depreciation into a deck on Chandos Street it simply does not work.”