Car park cash has been earmarked so that a secure compound can be built for permit holders should experts decide that their existing spaces in the basement of a crumbling Warwick multi-storey are unsafe.
Residents of the Printworks, in Theatre Street, have allocated parking in Linen Street car park just a few yards from their homes but that was closed to the public last month following health and safety concerns.
Since then permit holders have been using other car parks but at the cabinet meeting of Warwick District Council on Thursday (August 12) £60,000 was allocated for a compound within the West Rock car park should Linen Street be deemed off limits.
Monthly inspections of the multi-storey car park are being carried out and council surveyors are looking at whether it would be safe for residents to access the basement even though the rest of the Linen Street car park is closed off.
A report prepared for this week’s meeting said: “There is no doubt that the remainder of the car park is unsafe but should the surveys prove positive, the council will be able to avoid the cost of reprovision for the time being.”
The proposed West Rock compound would include lighting and electronic gates ensuring the spaces would only be used by permit holders.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Bill Gifford (Lib Dem, Leamington Milverton) expressed Liberal Democrat concerns and put forward an alternative suggestion.
He said: “Our group felt that using some of the car park even though it appears to be in danger of collapse didn’t seem to be a sensible idea.
“There seems to be a fair bit of parking available down near the racecourse. It’s a bit of a way up the hill but we wondered whether the residents couldn’t be allocated some spaces there.”
Cllr Moira-Ann Grainger (Con, Warwick All Saints and Woodloes) added: “We have known for some time that this is a car park in danger and the residents of Warwick are probably more concerned about what is going to happen in the future and I’ve been quite surprised at how little upset it has caused.
“The group of people who have the allocated spaces are not happy and not really happy with whatever they get offered as an alternative but an unsafe car park is an unsafe car park.”
Cllr Alan Rhead (Con, Budbrooke), the portfolio holder for climate change, said: “It is the council’s first priority to look after the safety of their residents and that's what we are doing.
“The basement survey has been done but we are not at all optimistic and the matter of alternatives is currently being looked at by our legal services.”