Fears have been voiced that the loss of over two-hundred car parking spaces at one of Bath’s main city-centre car parks could damage the local economy and increase traffic congestion.
Liberal Democrat-run Bath and North East Somerset Council has announced plans to demolish the multi-storey car park in Avon Street next spring, in preparation for a wider redevelopment of the site. The demolition will initially result in the loss of 414 parking spaces whilst the demolition of the multi-storey car park is carried out. A total of 214 spaces will then be lost once the demolition work is complete and a temporary surface-level car park created.
Opposition Conservative councillors have said that whilst they support plans to regenerate the site and welcome the car park’s demolition, any lost parking capacity should be adequately replaced. Conservatives have warned that, if enough car parking isn’t provided elsewhere, the reduction in parking spaces could harm local businesses and cause additional traffic congestion in the city centre.
Conservatives have pointed out that when SouthGate was being redeveloped, the Council put in place a temporary decked car park on Avon Street to compensate for the temporary loss of parking.
Councillor Anthony Clarke, Conservative Shadow Transport spokesman, said:
“It seems completely nonsensical to lose over two-hundred parking spaces from a major city-centre car park without a proper plan to replace them.
“If the Council doesn’t ensure there’s adequate parking it risks harming the local economy through a drop in trade. Even if Avon Street isn’t always full, you need to have some spare parking capacity for busy periods like school holidays and major events.
“It makes no sense to force people to drive around the city-centre in search of a parking space, clogging up the roads and causing additional pollution.”
Conservative Shadow Resources spokesman, Cllr Charles Gerrish, added:
“We fully support the regeneration plans for the Avon Street area, but so far people aren’t convinced that the need for replacement parking has been properly thought-through.
“For a start, the Council has admitted that it doesn’t yet have a long-term plan in place for the future of car parking at Avon Street. This surely should have been done first.
“B&NES needs to provide further reassurance to residents that it knows what it’s doing here.”