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Ashley Road traders' anger over car park plans leads to further scrutiny
RESIDENTS and traders’ fears that they may lose a crucial car park in Poole will be scrutinised by a council committee.
A massive petition signed by 1,136 people was presented by Richard Wilson, chairman of Ashley Road Traders Association, to Borough of Poole, opposing proposals by Wessex Water over the Mansfield Road car park.
The water company owns the decommissioned Grade II listed Victorian water tower and car park and is working on plans to convert the tower into two flats and build eight new homes with parking on the surrounding car park.
Under the lease Borough of Poole would be given 12 months notice to vacate the site and this has not been served – however the nearby surgery, whose patients use the car park, and residents are fearful for the future.
“It will also have a severe effect on the traders who rely on the car park – if you start taking that away you start to lose trade,” said Mr Wilson.
“It’s totally unacceptable they want to take it away after it’s been there so many years.”
The car park has 52 spaces and in a report Julian McLaughlin, head of transportation services, said existing budgets would not enable the council to buy the site.
Cllr Brian Clements, chairman of the economy overview and scrutiny committee put forward an amendment which was agreed, for his committee to look at the potential impact of any closure and to consider any possible mitigation.
He said the work the traders association was doing to support and regenerate the area was very important and he understood their dismay. They are also objecting to the possible loss of parking spaces outside shops in Ashley Road.
“The western section of the shopping area is more reliant on passing trade from motorists than other areas and there is great concern amongst traders and their customers alike as evidenced by the extraordinary level of support for the petition,” he said.
A spokesman for Wessex Water has said they are in the early stages of investigating how to restore and re-use the water tower. “We will be listening to the views of local people and discussing any concerns about local parking provision with the council.”
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