‘UNREALISTIC’ car parking displacement plans have suffered another ‘setback’.
At a Warwick District Council meeting councillors went against officers’ advice and refused permission to extend Princes Drive car park into Victoria Park.
It comes just weeks after proposals to tarmac over the former tennis courts on Archery Road were also rejected.
Campaign group Friends of Victoria Park welcomed the move but fear more attempts will be made to use some of the land as car parking displacement.
The council is currently working on a plan to create more car parks in the town to prepare for when the ageing Covent Garden – a 468-space multi storey – closes next year while it is rebuilt as part of the council’s new headquarters plans.
Group chair David Adams said: “What Victoria Park needs is a coherent long-term management plan that includes all foreseeable future demands and developments, including investment in park amenities, and hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games bowls events. No action should be taken until this is done.
“It’s time the council realised parks are intended for friendly football on green grass not political football on tarmac.”
Labour district councillors also welcomed the move to refuse the planning application but say the parking displacement plans – which currently look at providing a small number of extra spaces at existing car parks – will cost the council £1.25million to make changes and £600,000 in lost parking income at Covent Garden, while also increasing congestion around the town.
They are calling on the council to turn Chandos Street car park into a multi-storey – which the council previously discounted.
Coun Quinney said: “This is another set back to the council’s car parking displacement ‘strategy’ for Covent Garden.
“Perhaps that money should be spent investing in two decks on Chandos Street. We have never had a satisfactory answer as to why this is not possible. It could be done in less than six months, using new low-cost designs, which officers are already considering for another site. Parking revenues would be retained. The location is much more sensible as it’s the closest site to the car park due to come down.”
“We urge the executive to go away and look at this option again.”
But Warwick District Council says it will still not be looking at the option of using Chandos Street for additional parking.
A spokeswoman said: “In light of the decision made by the planning committee, we will continue to review existing car park usage and evaluate alternative options. We are pleased to announce we have now been given consent to offer additional parking at Riverside House and Court Street.
“The council has already explored and discounted the option of building a new or temporary multi-storey car-park on Chandos Street.”