Campaigners say council HQ will 'paralyse' town centre after public meeting held - The Leamington Observer

Campaigners say council HQ will 'paralyse' town centre after public meeting held

WARWICK District Council’s plans for a new headquarters in Leamington will ‘paralyse’ the town centre say campaigners.

The Leamington Together group claim the public has been excluded from the authority’s controversial proposals to move from Riverside House to a new purpose built hq on the site of Covent Garden car park.

The proposals also include building a larger multi storey car park, and for the building of up to 170 new homes on the Riverside House site.

Some 350 people attended a third public meeting – the second organised by the council – at the Spa Centre on Monday.

A Leamington Together spokesperson said: “From the response of the audience, there is clearly no appetite for WDC’s current plan with wide-ranging concerns being voiced on a variety of issues

“Leamington Together urges WDC to think again, to look at the very real alternative solutions to their office accommodation requirement, replace Covent Garden car park as quickly and safely as possible, and go back to the drawing board.”

Concerns raised by residents included financial arrangements, the lack of social and affordable housing, the environmental impact, business concerns, and the displacement arrangements for parking.

But the council re-emphasised reasons for the plans, including Riverside House no longer being fit for purpose, and being costly to run and maintain. The irreparable state of the Covent Garden car park was also highlighted again.

Council chiefs also stressed they had been working closely with Leamington BID and the Leamington Chamber of Trade for the past 12 months to establish a plan for alternative parking during the rebuilding of Covent Garden

Council leader Andrew Mobbs said: “We are getting close to when the Executive will be making the final decision on this project and a public meeting at this stage was a good way of helping to inform that decision, engage with residents of the district and to clarify some of the misinformation being shared.”

Video coverage of the meeting can be found on WDC’s Facebook page.

* Leamington Together has organised a protest rally against the plans outside Leamington Town Hall on Saturday (November 17), from 12.30pm.

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