BREAKING NEWS: Controversial council HQ plans postponed

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Warwick District Council has just announced that a decision on its controversial headquarter plans has been postponed until at least July.

Council leader Cllr Andrew Mobbs made the announcement at tonight’s (Wednesday’s) Full Council Meeting, saying that the decision was down to uncertainties in the current economic climate.

The Covent Garden Car Park was due to be closed in March for an estimated 18 months while the site is redeveloped for new offices for WDC, new apartments and a new multi-storey car park.

The plans have led to strong objections from residents, businesses and Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western.

Click here to read the what the council leader had to say at the meeting. In December, BID Leamington and the Royal Leamington Spa Chamber of Trade called on Warwick District Council (WDC) to delay the redevelopment of Covent Garden Car Park for one year amid growing concerns about the impact on parking in the town centre.

Representatives say they recognise the need to renew the multi-storey car park and have spent many months assisting WDC with the development of its displacement parking plan.

The controversial HQ plan involves the demolition of the Covent Garden multi-storey car park and the construction of a new complex on the same site, which will include a smaller headquarters for Warwick District Council, a new 617-space multi-storey car park and 44 apartments.

It will also involve the demolition of the council’s current headquarters at Riverside House and the building of 170 homes on that site, which will fund the new HQ plan.

The main objections from campaigners are a huge loss of parking while the development was being built (WDC has put forward a parking plan to deal with this but campaigners say it is unworkable); no affordable homes on either site, despite the council’s own guidelines stating that housing developments should include 40 per cent affordable homes; too much money spent on the project; the loss of trees, especially at the Riverside House site.

We will bring you more reaction on this story as it breaks.