Council HQ relocation in Leamington: councillors to face public at meeting

CGI of Warwick District Council's proposed HQ in Leamington
CGI of Warwick District Council's proposed HQ in Leamington

Those responsible for overseeing Warwick District Council’s “ambitious” plans to relocate its headquarters in Leamington will face the public at a meeting next month.

Executive members including council leader Andrew Mobbs declined an invitation to attend a similar meeting held by the Save Leamington from Warwick District Council Group, which took place at Leamington town hall last night (Thursday).

Instead, the council has organised a meeting to take place at the Royal Spa Centre on Monday November 12 with refreshments from 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

The meeting will be independently chaired by Phil Upton, of BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio.

Phil will take questions from the floor for the panel of Warwick district councillors and senior officers.

This is in response to calls for councillors to face questions from members of the public and business owners in the town centre who have grave concerns about the controversial proposals.

Cllr Mobbs said: “We welcome the opportunity to engage with residents and businesses about our plans for the council’s new HQ and car parking displacement plan.

“We want to keep the conversation going, so that we are clear about the issues they have and can answer their concerns.

“I urge them to come along and find out more.”

Cllr Mobbs has explained why members of the council’s executive declined the invite to this week’s meeting saying that the date had been set by the organisers before they checked if the councillors would be available or not.

He said: “There is nothing to be gained by setting the date and publicising the meeting without first checking if councillors are available to sit on the panel, especially if these are the decision-makers that the public wants to hear from.

“Key members of my team have long-standing commitments to their wards and they are not willing to let them down at this late stage.

“We do however recognise the importance of continued engagement with our local business community and residents to share the details of our ambitious plans for the town centre and to answer their questions.”

The council is inviting businesses to a separate breakfast meeting on the morning of November 12.

The evening meeting will give businesses a further opportunity to discuss the council’s plans along with any members of the public who would like to attend.

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western has criticised Cllr Mobbs and the executive for not having attended previous public meetings regarding the HQ plans.

In a tweet today (Friday October 26), regarding last night’s public meeting, he said: “The council was invited almost three weeks ago and chose to be elsewhere.

“Officers would not come to hear questions and provide answers.

“The public has a voice and it must be heard.”