Referendum call for council's Leamington HQ move plan

CGI of the council's new headquarters on the site of the Covent Garden Car park in Russell Street, Leamington.
CGI of the council's new headquarters on the site of the Covent Garden Car park in Russell Street, Leamington.

A notice of motion has been made by concerned Warwick district councillors who want a referendum on the authority’s controversial plans to relocate its headquarters in Leamington.

Cllr Colin Quinney (Lab, Leam) has put forward the motion which will go before the full council at Leamington Town Hall on Wednesday from 6pm.

CGI of the council's new headquarters on the site of the Covent Garden Car park in Russell Street, Leamington.

CGI of the council's new headquarters on the site of the Covent Garden Car park in Russell Street, Leamington.

In the motion, seconded by independent councillor Sue Gallagher, Cllr Quinney expresses concerns about the plans which include "contraventions of policy on affordable housing, section 106 contributions, costly and inadequate displacement parking, risk to town centre businesses and considerable impact on the environment and conservation area.

He says that "with a further £3 million funding shortfall identified in the viability assessment even the 'broadly cost-neutral' objective may not be met" and that there is "widespread public concern".

Cllr Quinney has asked that “the council recommends to its executive that it defers taking final decisions on the office relocation project to proceed to phase 2 and seeks public approval at a district-wide referendum to be held on May 2 2019”.

He has said that, by having the referendum on the same day as the local elections, "the additional costs should be acceptable".

He has added: "Deferring the decision will also give time for other options which may serve the public interest to be considered, carefully and objectively."