COUNCIL chiefs have listened to Observer readers and abandoned plans to replace tennis courts in Leamington’s Christchurch Gardens with a car park.
A proposal to build an 80-space permanent car park on the free-to-use tennis courts, also known as Top Park, were part of Warwick District Council’s plans to create more parking while the authority’s new headquarters are built at nearby Covent Garden, which will also see the building of a new and larger multi-storey car park.
But the proposal to do away with the popular courts sparked outrage on the Observer social media sites with the move branded “outrageous” and “utterly shameful”.
The outcry has now prompted the council to drop the controversial proposal from its so-called car park displacement strategy.
District council neighbourhood Services spokeswoman Moira-Ann Grainger said: “ In view of the concerns raised by residents and local ward councillors, I have as portfolio holder, instructed the officers to amend the report and remove Christchurch Gardens from the proposals. There will be no changes to the gardens.
“A revised paper will be considered by the council’s executive next Wednesday.”
The displacement strategy aims to provide extra parking between the closure of the existing Covent Garden surface and multi-storey car park, currently providing 468 spaces, and the opening of the new 617 space multi-storey.
The Covent Garden car parks are set to close early next year, and the new multi-storey is expected to be open in time for Christmas 2020.
Other proposals to cope when Covent Garden closes include 50 permanent surface parking spaces at Princes Drive; 37 permanent surface spaces at Archery Road, opposite the tennis courts in Victoria Park; and up to 80 temporary surface spaces at Court Street in Old Town.
The proposals also include using the existing car park at the council’s Riverside House headquarters on Milverton Hill as public parking at weekends, providing 260 spaces, throughout the closure of Covent Garden. The site will be developed for housing when the council moves to its new headquarters.
The council-owned car park at Station Approach is also set to re-open in late 2019 providing a further 100 spaces.
The displacement strategy is set to cost around £770,000.
The executive committee will discuss the proposals on Wednesday February 7.