Statement from Leader of the Council
"I and my fellow Executive members have listened carefully to the concerns and issues raised by town centre businesses, residents, Councillors and our partners such as BID Leamington and the Leamington Chamber of Trade and I now use this opportunity to state that we will postpone the final decision on the Covent Garden redevelopment, the car park closure and HQ relocation until, at the earliest July 2019.
This revised timeline has been agreed with our private sector partners in our LLP joint venture (Public Sector Plc) and is a consequence of the current uncertainty in the economy. I have welcomed the approach from many, but in particular from Councillors Thompson, Stevens and Grainger that town centre businesses should be allowed to prioritise their immediate needs during these uncertain months without the distraction of having to adapt to new parking arrangements and this deferral will allow exactly that.
In addition it will enable the Council to embrace the recommendations from the independent review we commissioned with a local marketing company and work with our partners to adopt a new communications strategy about town centre parking. This will provide greater awareness for the public and businesses of the alternative car parking options that will be in place before the Covent Garden car parks close and the reassurance that the public and business’ need around the effectiveness of the displacement plan in maintaining footfall in the town centre.
This is a strong and financially prudent Council and I and my Executive are committed to continuing to provide value for money for the local tax payer. Progressing the Council’s HQ relocation plans and redevelopment of Covent Garden site is a major contribution to this priority. The Council’s financial strength will enable it to withstand the delay in achieving the projected savings, but I can also reassure members and the public that we will not proceed until we and our LLP partners are certain that the time is right to do so."