Concern over new car park at County Hall
- Credit: Steve Adams
The green light has been given for up to £400,000 to be spent on a new staff car park at Norfolk County Council's headquarters - but concerns have been raised that the public could snap up all the spaces.
Workers will have to pay £5 a day to use the 226-space car park, earmarked to be built along the south-east side of County Hall.
Council bosses have long said action was needed as the car park at the Martineau Lane site is at capacity and, with staff moving there from offices closing elsewhere in the county, pressure has increased.
Planning permission has been secured from Norwich City Council and, at a meeting of the policy and resources committee yesterday, councillors agreed to build it.
The estimated construction cost is £250,000 to £400,000, with officers hoping it will be ready by summer 2017.
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Parking would cost £5 a day, to be reviewed each year, which officers say would bring in about £250,000 a year, meaning the cost of construction can be recouped in less than two years.
The car park is also to be made available for use by the public, a move which was criticised by Labour's George Nobbs, former leader of the council, who said he feared that could mean there were no spaces for staff.
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He said: 'I am concerned that, if the public are able to use this car park at £5 for a day, what is to stop them getting there before our staff and taking up all the spaces.
'I am concerned about how we intend to monitor it. You cannot have it open to the public and members of staff at the same time. It will not work.'
Officers said there would be monitoring for the first few weeks, but were confident it would be successful, with Conservative Ian Mackie suggesting it could also open at weekends.