Cost of Welingborough multi-storey rises to pay for extra safety measures

There were a number of arson attacks on the car park over the summer.
There were a number of arson attacks on the car park over the summer.

Another half a million pounds has been committed to the refurbishment of Wellingborough’s multi-storey car park, so that fire sprinklers can be installed.

Following a number of arson attacks at the Swansgate multi-storey car park over the summer, the council has now decided to add additional security measures to the planned overhaul of the town’s largest parking space.

The extra charges were agreed at the council’s resources committee last week (September 25) and bring the cost of the refurbishment to £3.24m.

Council leader Martin Griffiths said the work was necessary as ‘we must make sure the shopping experience is good.”

Opposition leader Cllr Andrew Scarborough said this was the third major refurbishment he had known since serving as a councillor and that the facility was a ‘white elephant and very expensive to feed’.

He did, however, agree the refurbishment was needed as the facility needed to be safe for customers.

At the meeting the council reiterated its commitment to providing free car parking in the town.

Cllr Tom Partridge-Underwood said: “We are committed to free car parking while we are a soverign council. Beyond that we can’t promise.”

The council is due to be abolished in 2021 and join with neighbour councils to form a North Northamptonshire unitary council. When that happens many of the agreements currently in place will be looked at again.

Work could start on the Swansgate within the next couple of months. The contractor has not yet been appointed.

The funds will come from the council’s capital budget, which was boosted by £10m this year following the sale of land at the Wellingborough North housing development site.

Works that will be included in the refurbishment include strengthening the concrete structure, resurfacing the floor, removing two lifts, refurbishing the toilets and installing ANPR and CCTV.

There will also be six electric car charging points added. The bulk of the additional £541,900 cost agreed by the committee is to pay for the sprinkler system (£453,000) and security fencing will be added to the first floor level.