Campaigners have called for town councillors to support them in their bid to have Warwick District Council defer and rethink its controversial headquarters move plans in Leamington.
Members of Leamington Together made a presentation to town councillors on Monday evening (January 14) expressing their desire for the district council (WDC) to give businesses in the town centre more time to prepare for the loss of car parking spaces and for a finalised displacement strategy to be put in place for when the Covent Garden car park in Russell Street is closed and rebuilt as part of the project.
Campaigners from Leamington Together are desperate for the project to be deferred for a year and believe this will give the council more time to consider a better way to replace the car park and to reduce the impact it will have on parking and businesses.
They said they were approaching the town council as a last resort because they do not believe the district council’s ruling administration is listening to them on the matter.
Speaking on behalf of Leamington Together, residents Carrie and Richard Terry said: “We are here because we have virtually exhausted all the available channels of communication to express how we feel - we are not being listened to.
“So we are appealing to you, as our elected town council, to represent your electorate and stand with us in asking WDC to defer the decision on the HQ relocation for one year.
“This will allow time to plan for the inevitable car park closure and for businesses to prepare - as suggested by BID Leamington and the chamber of trade.
“Importantly for our supporters it would also allow time for a joint, independent review of the viable and cost effective alternatives to WDC’s accommodation needs, so that greater social and environmental equity can be realised and best value guaranteed.”
The petition to halt WDC’s plan has now almost amassed the 10,000 signatures campaigners had set as a target when it was launched in 2018.
The town council will decide on whether to support the campaigners at a meeting on February 11.
As things stand the decision whether to proceed with the plans will be made by the full district council in February with the car park set to close in March.
The project includes the council’s current Riverside House offices in Milverton Hill making way for a housing estate with hundreds of new homes.
Among the issues campaigners have with this part of the plan is that there will be no affordable housing as part of the estate and that tens of trees will be removed from the site.
This will happen after WDC’s new headquarters are built along with a new multi-storey car park and luxury apartments on the Covent Garden site.
To find out more about the campaign and for latest updates search for Leamington Together on Facebook.