New underground car park for Norwich agreed, despite controversy

PUBLISHED: 09:56 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:03 04 July 2018

The underground car park beneath The Vauxhall Centre in Norwich is to be leased to a private car park operator. Pic: Archant.

The underground car park beneath The Vauxhall Centre in Norwich is to be leased to a private car park operator. Pic: Archant.


Shoppers could soon be able to make use of a new car park in Norwich city centre, after a council spent £150,000 to revamp an underground car park and decided to lease it to a private operator.

Emma Corlett, Labour county councillor for Town Close. Pic: Archant.Emma Corlett, Labour county councillor for Town Close. Pic: Archant.

Norfolk County Council is trying to generate more money from leasing or selling off its land and a number of schemes came before councillors yesterday.

Councillors were asked to agree to lease the 77-space car park beneath the Vauxhall Centre, in Vauxhall Street, near Grapes Hill roundabout to RCP Parking Ltd.

The committee agreed to do so, for £65,000 a year for 10 years, with the first six months rent free.

But the committee heard that Emma Corlett, the Labour councillor for Town Close ward, had sent a note to the committee expressing her concerns over the proposal and whether there had been proper consultation, with the buildings above used for Sure Start and by the Hamlet charity.

Simon Hughes, head of property at the council, said there was consultation during the planning application process and that highways and children’s services had not raised issues.

He said that, as a city centre location, it was quite an attractive opportunity and there had been nine expressions of interest, with three tenders submitted and RCP Parking making the best offer.

He said that the county council had previously bought the site from Norwich City Council and had spent £150,000 on new lighting, sprinkler system and CCTV. He said the cost of that would be recouped after three years of leasing it out.

Labour councillors wanted a decision to be deferred, but the committee did agree the lease.

Another contentious lease which the committee agreed was for a site at Trimingham, in north Norfolk. The committee agreed to lease the land, off Gimingham Road, to Swallowtails Leisure Ltd to use for 20 ‘glamping pitches’.

But Liberal Democrat Dr Ed Maxfield. whose Mundesley ward includes Trimingham, had asked questions about that move due to what he described as “considerable local disquiet” the move had generated.

He said: “A campsite could result in a huge increase in traffic movements and likely increase in the numner of large vehicles using the road to access the site.”

Committee chairman Keith Kiddie said the proposal was for ‘glamping’ pitches, not for a caravan/camper site.

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