‘OUTRAGED’ residents have accused Warwick District Council of ‘stealing’ park land in a bid to offset the loss of car parking spaces set to be caused by its new headquarters.
The free to use Archery Road car park, next to Victoria Park, has room for around 30 cars and is most commonly used by bowlers using the nearby club, dog walkers and park users.
But more than 100 residents have objected to the council’s bid to make it a paying car park, more than double the number of spaces to 65, and install CCTV.
Council chiefs argue the changes will enable those working or visiting to park and walk into town.
The plans form part of the council’s parking displacement strategy – to provide alternative spaces if the 468 space Covent Garden car park closes to make way for the council’s proposed new headquarters.
Concerns about Archery Road car park have been raised by a number of councillors, Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western, and national organisation Bowls England.
They say changing the car park would have a detrimental impact on the park and could affect the reputation of the greens at Victoria Park being the ‘home of English bowls’.
And local community group Friends of Victoria Park say if the changes go ahead it would impact businesses.
Chairman David Adams said: “The land is used mostly in the summer for parking by park users – especially bowlers, young families and dog walkers.
“The council is telling local retailers the 65 spaces are for town workers, but not that it will make the town less friendly to hundreds of bowlers – who help make Leamington ‘the home of English bowls’ fit for the 2022 Commonwealth Games – and hundreds of visitors who love the play and recreation available in Leamington’s largest open green space.”
The district council says the application has been through a consultation and statutory planning process. It is set to be discussed by the council’s planning committee on Tuesday (November 6).