Public meeting to be held about controversial council HQ plans in Leamington

CGI of Warwick District Council's new HQ.
CGI of Warwick District Council's new HQ.

BID Leamington and Leamington Chamber of Trade have organised a public meeting on Warwick District Council's controversial plans to build a new headquarters in Leamington.

The event will take place at The Studio in the Royal Spa Centre on Tuesday June 19 from 6pm and will give businesses, employees, customers and residents the chance to put forward their questions on the development, which includes new headquarters for Warwick District Council, a new multi-storey car park and apartments on the site of the ailing Covent Garden Car Park in the town centre.

It will also include a large new housing estate being built on the site of the district council's current Riverside House headquarters in Milverton Hill.

BID Leamington and Leamington Chamber of Trade are concerned that insufficient provision has been made for the loss of parking during the build and that the new multi-storey will not be able to meet increased demand from the new headquarters and apartments.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said: “The Covent Garden Car Park redevelopment will greatly impact on local businesses, their staff and customers.

“As their collective voice, BID Leamington has been actively lobbying on the scheme for over a year, particularly in relation to the displacement plan for parking.

“As part of that, we met with Cllr Andrew Mobbs, leader of Warwick District Council, in early February when we set out the concerns of businesses.

“With around 25,000 vehicles per month affected, local businesses are worried that a shortage of parking spaces, within an acceptable distance, during the two-year development will deter shoppers and significantly diminish footfall particularly in the north of the town centre where businesses will also notice the loss in passing foot traffic.

“We are committed to working with the council. not only to improve parking in the long-term but to attract the right kind of investment to take the town forward.

“However, we feel that this needs to be delivered in a way that responsibly mitigates any disruption to businesses as the high street is already facing significant challenges.”

Julie McGarrigle, chair of Leamington Chamber of Trade, said: “The Chamber’s role is to lobby local authorities to ensure the vibrancy of the town centre and its businesses.

“The public meeting will be an opportunity to have important questions answered and we would urge businesses, and anyone in the local community with interest and concerns, to attend.”