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Petition calls for controversial £1.9m car park to be scrapped

PUBLISHED: 15:24 02 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:24 02 September 2020

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

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

Icarus Consulting Ltd

A hundred people have signed a petition urging Norfolk County Council to scrap plans to spend almost £2m on a car park at its County Hall site.

Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis has signed the petition. Photo: UK ParliamentNorwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis has signed the petition. Photo: UK Parliament

The council’s planning committee last month voted eight to four in for a scheme to create an extra 128 spaces at the Martineau Lane site.

The plans for an extension to the car park and to add a second deck to part of the current set-up were backed, despite numerous objections to the proposal.

However, the secretary of state had served a holding direction on the council which meant the committee could not award permission - just indicate it would want to award it. The government could yet call the scheme in.

Meanwhile, Bracondale Residents Association has started an online petition urging the council not spend £1.9m of public money on the car park.

Almost 100 people have signed the petition so far, including Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis, who spoke out against the planning application at last month’s two-and-a-half hour-long virtual council meeting.

Keri Williams, from the Bracondale Residents Association, who started the petition, said it was important as many people as possible sign the petition.

He said: “The county council is proposing to spend £1.9m on a scheme to provide more car parking for staff at County Hall. This cannot be justified.

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“The county council has already made substantial cuts to services, including cuts to children’s and adult social services. It has also incurred considerable additional costs resulting from the Covid crisis.”

Mr Williams said money would be better used to support front line services, on projects to help more council staff work from home or to travel to work by bus, bicycle or on foot.

He said: “Spending £1.9m to build more car parking spaces during this climate emergency would also conflict with the county council’s stated commitment to achieve zero carbon emissions from its operations.”

A council spokesman said: “County Hall acts as a base for a large number front-line staff who need to use their cars to undertake their roles.

“This will include hundreds of additional staff, previously based at Carrow House, who will make County Hall their base of operations when they return to the office following the coronavirus pandemic.”

“We will continue to see a significant proportion of our staff working from home after the Covid-19 restrictions ease but, with the number of people based at County Hall set to increase, we still need to provide adequate infrastructure, including car parking space.

“The planning committee considered in detail the issues that have been raised by the residents group and noted the work that is underway to help staff use alternative methods of transport to access County Hall.”

“This one-off capital investment will help in the rationalisation of the Council’s estate, which in turn will deliver revenue savings.”

The petition is at https://norfolkcc.cmis.uk.com/norfolkcc/ePetitions.aspx


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