Decision due over controversial new £1.9m car park

How the new car park at Norfolk County Council's County Hall headquarters could look. Pic: Icarus Co

The original plans for the car park were agreed in September last year. - Credit: Icarus Consulting Ltd

Plans for a controversial £1.9m council park will come back before councillors this week - with opponents calling for it to be turned down.

Norfolk County Council's planning committee voted in September to grant itself permission for a new 128-space car park to serve its County Hall headquarters on the edge of Norwich.

Norfolk County Council at County Hall in Norwich

Norfolk County Council officers say the extra parking spaces are needed for when more staff move to work from County Hall. - Credit: Archant

Those plans for an extension to the Martineau Lane car park and to add a second deck to part of the current set-up were backed, despite objections from people living nearby.

But, with the council wanting to make changes to the agreed scheme, plans will come back before members of the planning committee.

The changes include a reduction in the overall footprint of the deck system and alterations to how it would be lit.

People living nearby have objected again and are still questioning how providing extra car parking spaces for council staff fits with the strategy to reduce carbon emissions.

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They say the coronavirus pandemic has proved people can work from home, so question the need for so many parking spaces at County Hall.

Martin Armstrong, who lives in Conesford Drive, said: "The pandemic has forced people across the country to work from home.

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"It is surely premature to be planning the provision of additional parking space.

"Cycle lanes and safer pedestrian access to County Hall has got to be given priority to reduce dependence on motor vehicles."

The Bracondale Residents’ Association came up with an alternative proposal to maximise use of the existing car park with what is known as echelon parking.

Norwich City Council says it is against the principle of the car park.

And Jon Boon, from The Norwich Society, said the civic watchdog was objecting because the car park "flies in the face of efforts to reduce the amount of traffic coming into Norwich".

Brenda Jones, Labour county councillor for Lakenham. Pic: Labour Party.

Brenda Jones, Labour county councillor for Lakenham and Tuckswood. - Credit: Labour Party

Brenda Jones, Labour county councillor for Lakenham and Tuckswood, has also objected, as she did last time.

However, the council has said many staff need to use cars as part of their job, while staff who had been based at Carrow House are moving to County Hall following the pandemic.

Officers are recommending that the revised car park is approved when the planning committee meets virtually on Friday, March 5.

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