Proposals to build affordable homes on part of the West Rock car park in Warwick have been rejected by members of the planning committee.
Waterloo Housing wanted to build ten flats and three houses which would have led to the loss of 41 of the 92 available town centre parking spaces.
Council officers had recommended acceptance of the scheme because of the need for more rented housing.
But town councillor and local shopkeeper Mandy Littlejohn, who was invited to address district planners, said: “Neither the town council nor members of the Chamber of Trade are against affordable housing. We have already approved development of the old fire station site, the gas works and the old print works - all in the town centre.
“But even though the West Rock site was in our Town Centre Plan, it was always proposed the car park would remain underneath the housing and this is now not the case.”
Cllr Littlejohn quoted Government guidelines on local planning that recognised town centres were at the heart of communities.
She said: “Warwick Distrct Council’s own survey demonstrates that the weekday average use of West Rock is 85 per cent.
“This car park is also open in the evenings for the many visitors to our restaurants which keep the economy of the town centre in the evenings bouyant.”
She said the Linen Street multi-storey was not a viable alternative as it had no disabled parking, had restricted height and the spaces themselves were not wide enough for parents with children in pushchairs.
Tracy Dark, the council’s head of development and planning, said: “The loss of these parking spaces coupled with the taffic generation by he new development resulted in a decsion to refuse the application.”
District councillors rejected Waterloo’s proposals by seven votes to two.