12:00PM, Wednesday 13 March 2019
Safety fears have been voiced about the closure of the Maidenhead town hall car park.
Cllr Claire Stretton (TBF, Boyn Hill) has attacked the decision to close the site, which is accessed from Park Street, having been told it would shut on Wednesday last week.
She particularly worried about councillors and Royal Borough staff being vulnerable if they have to park in further afield car parks and walk back at late hours – especially if they carry valuable equipment such as laptops.
She said: “Lynne Jones (fellow opposition councillor) and I are concerned that when you consider that the last council meeting went on until 10 past midnight, we feel concerned that there are officers having to walk that distance at that time at night.
“I just don’t feel this has been thought through.”
The town hall car park closed on Sunday evening as the York Road regeneration developments get underway.
Councillors have been shown a map suggesting car parks they can stay in with their walking times, all between five and eight minutes away. These include Hines Meadow and the new Ten Pin Bowling car park.
Grove Road car park, which is opposite the town hall car park, has a maximum stay of two hours. Council meetings can frequently last longer than that and it is due to shut down the line as the York Road redevelopment continues.
Cllr Stretton pointed to the fact that some councillors carry equipment such as laptops from their car and pointed to the loss of disabled parking at the town hall car park.
Groups using the Desborough Theatre in the town hall may also be impacted, she suggested, if audiences are less willing or unable to visit the town hall for performances if they are forced to park further away.
A council spokeswoman said: “Ensuring we have good quality parking in the right location is one of our top priorities.
“As part of the regeneration of Maidenhead town centre, some car parks, including the town hall car park, will close but new modern parking facilities including both temporary and permanent car parks are being created in their place.
“Grove Road car park will remain open for the immediate future and we have recently opened 160 more spaces on the former ten pin bowling site near the Magnet Leisure centre for resident use during the day and evening. 240 spaces will open at Braywick Leisure Centre shortly.”
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