Parking spaces could be lost during council HQ move

G.V. - Covent Garden Car Park, Russell Street, Leamington Spa, earmarked for the site of the new Council HQ. NNL-150922-230857009
G.V. - Covent Garden Car Park, Russell Street, Leamington Spa, earmarked for the site of the new Council HQ. NNL-150922-230857009

Plans to build a new headquarters for Warwick district council in Leamington town centre could lead to a loss of hundreds of car parking spaces for more than a year.

The council would have to close the Covent Garden surface and multi-storey car parks in Russell Street while work takes place on the new headquarters, which would also include a 650-space car park and about 40 flats.

A final decision on the project will be made in July 2017 with the closures taking place shortyl after - taking away almost 600 spaces until the project is completed in late 2018.

Gary Charlton, contract services manager for the authority, said: “We’ll be looking at all the options for the mitigation of the displacement of car parking spaces and have time to do so.

“The multi-storey has 511 spaces but in reality only up to about 200 are used at any one time.

“It is not a particularly well utilised car park so there is scope there for us to do something in the short term.”

The multi-storey car park is in need of essential repairs for which the council will pay up to £300,000 to keep it open for the next 12 months.

A report to the authority’s executive says: “If these essential repairs are not carried out the car park would need to be closed with immediate effect on health and safety grounds.

“The result of such an unplanned closure of the car park would be a significant reduction in town centre parking capacity and a major detrimental impact on local businesses that rely on this car park for longer stay parking for their customers and staff.

“There is currently no other long stay car park that could accommodate the displacement of season ticket holders from the multi-storey car park if it were to close and no significant capacity to accommodate non-season ticket users within the town centre.

Council officers have considered adding a temporary deck to the Chandos Street surface car park but this would take at least 12 months to be manufactured and constructed and is not considered to be a viable option.

The council’s new headquarters would replace its current Riverside House base in Milverton Hill, which would make way for more than 100 houses and flats.

Riverside House, which has 340 staff working out of it and about 240 working at the building at one time, currently costs the council almost £600,000 to run annually and has an estimated bill for repairs of £1 million over the next five years.

The council has estimated that it can save £300,000 per year through the new HQ.