Ailing multi-storey car park in Leamington could be replaced with wellbeing centre

Warwick District Council is considering options to transform the town centre which also include revisiting plans to move its Riverside House headquarters to a different site.
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Plans to make some major changes to Leamington town centre, including replacing the ailing Covent Garden multi-storey car park with a health and wellbeing centre, will be discussed at a meeting this week.

Warwick District Council (WDC) has announced the Covent Garden multi-storey car park, which has ‘concrete cancer’, has become a site for ongoing issues of anti-social behaviour “culminating in growing concerns about health and safety to the public” and will be permanently closed on Sunday (February 12) before it is demolished.

The council has said: “In preparation, WDC is already considering an assessment of the options to create a health and wellbeing hub on the Covent Garden site, offering a range of much-needed community services.”

The Covent Garden multi-storey car park in Leamington.The Covent Garden multi-storey car park in Leamington.
The Covent Garden multi-storey car park in Leamington.

The authority will also revisit plans to move its Riverside House headquarters to a different site.

If approved, by the end of the year the temporary relocation of WDC’s face-to face services to the Royal Pump Rooms and Leamington Town Hall will be completed, with replacement staff office space being provided in Saltisford, Warwick.

The council’s controversial plans to build a new headquarters and new multi-storey car park on the Covent Garden site and sell Riverside House to make way for a housing estate were shelved in September 2020.

The report for the new plans also seeks the council’s approval to use the money from the Riverside House sale to meet the cost of relocating the Edmondscote Athletics Track to Fusiliers Way, and also construct an adjacent footpath and cycleway through to Myton Road.

Warwick District Council's Riverside House HQ.Warwick District Council's Riverside House HQ.
Warwick District Council's Riverside House HQ.

As a result, land would then be available to create a Commonwealth Games legacy park, stretching from Princes Drive along the river bank to the Portobello Bridge on Emscote Road, to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II.

Other reports to be assessed at the meeting include the launch of a new Economic Development Strategy for South Warwickshire; the progress being made with the Leamington town centre projects as part of the Future High Streets Fund Programme, and work being planned by Severn Trent in the Pump Room Gardens as part of a £multi-million scheme to improve water quality in the Rivers Leam and Avon.

Additionally there will be an update report on the progress of BID Leamington’s renewal proposal and ballot, which is due to take place in March this year.

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Cllr Andrew Day, the leader of Warwick District Council, said: “We’ve been on quite a journey over the last three years and much has changed, but our vision and ambition for our beautiful town has remained unaltered.

"The benefit of time has given our council the opportunity to revisit and renew previous proposals for both Covent Garden and Riverside House with the needs of our local community, businesses and residents front and centre in our plans.”

“With the momentum brought by reinvestment schemes already underway, including Spencer Yard and the Creative Quarter, if the Council chooses to move forward with these revised proposals, I believe that significant public benefit will be unlocked, boosting the transformation of our beautiful town.”