Congestion charge for Warwick?

Warwick rush-hour traffic
Warwick rush-hour traffic

A congestion charge might be enforced in Warwick to combat the town’s growing traffic problems. That is just one idea put forward in light of the fact that thousands of new homes are being earmarked nearby.

That is just one idea put forward in light of the fact that thousands of new homes are being earmarked nearby.

And with more than 1,000 houses already approved for the outskirts of Warwick, the county council has asked consultants to come up with a range of ideas for sustainable transport in the future.

If the whole Local Plan for 12,900 new homes does finally go ahead by 2029, it’s estimated this will account for nearly 18,000 more cars registered throughout the district.

Some of these properties have already been built or plots identified. In the past few months alone approval has already been given for 1,300 homes around Europa Way and Harbury Lane.

And far more of what the Local Plan describes as “garden suburbs” are anticipated.

At a meeting in Warwick on Tuesday, UK transport consultants Atkins talked to local councillors, along with representatives of the Warwick and Leamington societies, Cycleways, Stagecoach buses and other “stakeholders” about ideas for reducing traffic.

One of their ideas was for a congestion charge to simply discourage motorists from driving into old towns like Warwick. Another was for a tax on parking places being used by workers leaving their vehicles all day. A review of bus routes also needs to be made and more cycle paths introduced.

Another suggestions was for a park-and-ride scheme - something unsuccessfully considered in the past.

County councillor Peter Butlin, who is responsible for transport and planning, said this would be a “carrot and stick” approach to getting more people to walk or use bikes and buses.

Among those at the meeting was town and county councillor John Holland (Lab, Warwick West), who said he felt nothing new had been learned, adding: “In the Labour Party we do not dispute the fact that new homes need to be built, but why can they not be concentrated near train stations and alongside bus routes? We looked at the idea of a park-and-ride scheme ten years ago and could find nowhere suitable.”