Much is still to be done before a robust strategy is put in place to cover the temporary loss of one of Leamington town centre’s busiest car parks.
This is the view of BID Leamington director Stephanie Kerr in response to an update from Warwick District Council on its strategy to create enough parking spaces to be in place from the 18-month period of when the 468-space Covent Garden carpark closes to be replaced by a new 618-space car park as part of the authority’s controversial plans to build a new headquarters on the site.
The strategy, as it stands, would provide 302 spaces during the week and a total of 562 spaces at the weekend through additional public parking spaces at Princes Drive, Archery Road, Court Street, Station Approach and at the council’s current headquarters at Riverside House in Milverton Hill.
The council’s executive members met on Wednesday with the strategy being on the agenda.
Stephanie said: “We were pleased to see that a number of our suggestions are recommended in the Executive Report.
“This includes funding a robust communications plan and the engagement of specialist expertise to review the existing displacement parking plans.
“The review, being undertaken by a specialist parking consultancy which we helped select, started this week and will look at the impact of the closure of Covent Garden Car Park, what is proposed and recommend further measures to minimise disruption and re-balance footfall in the north of the town centre.
“We anticipate further recommendations may come forward following this work.
“Engagement with the district council is also ongoing and we have further meetings planned in early August.
“We are mindful that the proposed closure date of Covent Garden of January 2019 is less than six months away and there is still a lot to do.
“Much of the proposed ‘additional car parking’ needs planning permission to be built or in the case of Station Approach will not be ready until late 2019, so we are seeking reassurances that Covent Garden will not be closed until an adequate plan is ready to be delivered.”
Labour councillors have criticised the strategy for having “woefully insufficient numbers” of spaces of which many are more than a kilometre away from the town centre and that the council has overstated the spare capacity of those car parks already in use.