District council to spend £330,000 as part of parking strategy for HQ move plan

The Covent Garden surface and multi-storey car park in Leamington
The Covent Garden surface and multi-storey car park in Leamington

Warwick District Council is to spend more than £330,000 on extra staff over the next two years as it puts a new car park policy in place.

The move has been prompted by the closure of the Covent Garden multi-storey in Leamington town centre early next year with a loss of 468 spaces. Work is ongoing to create extra spaces elsewhere in the town with plans in place to redirect motorists.

Councillors at the latest Employment Committee heard that those plans would need six new members of staff taken on for a period of either one or two years at a cost of £238,000. They also agreed to take on a permanent project manager with an annual salary of £50,400 and their remit would also include overseeing the installation of new parking meters across the district, reviewing parking tariffs and coming up with a replacement for the Linen Street multi-storey in Warwick.

In his report to councillors, head of neighbourhood services Rob Hoof said there was likely to be quite a bit of confusion when the Covent Garden car park closes adding that more resources would be needed to provide information to users and directing them to alternatives. This would be particularly important during major events.

He also highlighted the need to supports those using the new payment machines adding that they would also be on hand to deal with enquiries and complaints, helping answer the 450-500 phone calls and 500 emails received each week.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Hoof added: “We think we are going to need more people n the ground - signposting people because parkers are creatures of habit. We will have quite a bit of disruption at the start.”

In addition to the project manager, the other new members of staff would consist of two business support officers on a two-year contract and four rangers - two for two years with the others for just 12 months.

As part of the car park changes in Leamington, St Peters car park will be converted to a pay and display and new car parks will be created in Archery Road, Court Street, Princes Drive and at the current council offices at Riverside House.