MP calls for urgent meeting to discuss council HQ plans - The Leamington Observer

MP calls for urgent meeting to discuss council HQ plans

Leamington Editorial 20th Jun, 2018 Updated: 25th Jun, 2018   0

CALLS have been made for an urgent meeting where people will have time to question councillors about plans for a new HQ.

Leamington’s Business Improvement District and Chamber of Trade recently held a public meeting where people could question council representatives about the plans.

But Warwick and Leamington and MP Matt Western said some 200 people showed up and were allocated just 45 minutes to question Warwick district and Warwickshire County Council representatives.

Mr Western also said no district councillors were on the panel, despite some being at the meeting.

He is now calling for the HQ project to be delayed until elections next year.

He said: “It is clear that there was not enough time for the public to ask questions and the complete absence of any elected representatives from Warwick District Council was deeply disappointing.

“Elected councillors who are making these decisions should not hide behind council officers.

“The community is already demanding another meeting where they can hold their elected representatives to account.

“The whole Riverside House project should be delayed until after the district council elections in May 2019, so that the public can have a real vote on this project.”

The meeting was held at the Royal Spa Centre and was held to discuss the district council’s plans to build multi-million pound office on Covent Garden car park.

The council plans to sell off its existing offices at Riverside House on Milverton Hill as housing.

Many of those who attended the meeting raised concerns about the lack of parking displacement plans and the impact it would have on town centre trade.

Mr Western added: “Elected representatives must be held accountable on this issue and that is why we must have another open public meeting urgently.”

But Warwick District Council says its councillors were not invited to sit on the panel.

It also says it agreed to take part in another meeting to be held in September.

Council leader Coun Andrew Mobbs said: The HQ relocation supports the pressing need for the council to make revenue savings that we can directly re-invest into maintaining public services.

“The move, to a smaller, modern, more sustainable building will save the taxpayer £300,000 per year and placing that building on the Covent Garden site will enable us to develop a modern, better and bigger car park to welcome shoppers and visitors to the heart of the town centre and increase footfall in that area of the town.

“This is a well thought through plan that has been developed over a number of years which has gone through the normal planning process and public consultation.”

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