THE painstaking rebuild of Castlepoint’s car park needn’t prove a huge headache for residents, it has been claimed.

Councillors representing the Strouden Park and Throop areas are pledging to do everything possible to ensure the massive project is carried out with minimum disruption.

Strouden Park councillor Michael Weinhonig has said he will monitor the situation from a residents’ perspective every day during the first phase, due to start next spring.

Castlepoint bosses have offered assur-ances that noise, dust and vehicle move-ments will all be strictly controlled.

Mark Watt, a Castlepoint Ltd Partnership director, said “meticulous planning” had taken place regarding traffic in the area.

“We are aiming for minimal interruption for traffic and residents in the surrounding area,” he said.

He added there would be a “completely segregated” retail and construction operation, which will mean shoppers should be unaffected.

“We will not have car park and walkway works happening in the same place at the same time,” he said.

Details of the proposed rebuild were given to local councillors on Tuesday morning. Cllr Weinhonig said they were pleased progress was at last being made.

He said: “It’s an absolute relief to see that at last we’re going to see it repaired. It’s a long project and that’s why I think the first phase is absolutely critical. As long as we get that spot-on the job can be done with as little disruption as possible.

“For a shopping centre of such magnitude to do something of this nature, they will need to get the public on board. The major area for concern is the local residents and how their lives may be disrupted but I’m confident they will do a very good job.”

And Cllr Ron Whittaker, who represents the adjoining Throop and Muscliff ward, said: “ We’ve no other option, we can’t leave it as it is.

“They’ve assured us they will do everything possible to minimise disruption to residents, including no work in the evenings or weekends. They are working with the planning officers on that, including the movement of vehicles in and out of the site.

He is vice-chair of the planning board, who will consider Castlepoint’s planning application when it is submitted. He said there would be “pages of conditions” if planning permission was awarded.

Cllr Michael Filer, cabinet member for transport, said: “Our transport officers will of course be liaising with Castlepoint’s team to ensure the minimum disruption to everyday life.

“I’m delighted that improvements are being made to Castlepoint. We wish to co-operate as much as possible.

“It doesn’t have to be major disruption for the general public off site and I hope there won’t be.”

How centre will develop

THE painstaking rebuild will leave Castlepoint with a “light and airy” car park that is “fit for the 21st century,”

Computer generated images of how the car park will look once it has been rebuilt have been shown to the Echo and local councillors.

If all goes as planned, the gloomy lower deck should be completely transformed, with fewer pillars and a new bright appearance.

The multi-million pound building project will affect the entire shopping park, with the exception of the area at the front from Frankie and Benny’s to Lakeland.

Everywhere else, from Sainsbury’s to B&Q, is likely to be closed at some point, though not for any longer than one working week.

Shopmobility, currently under the deck at the bus stop, will be moved during the works to the area underneath Sainsbury’s.