A public meeting about the proposed sale of a town centre car park is taking place tomorrow (Thursday).
Hundreds of parking spaces will be lost from Wellingborough town centre after councillors voted to approve the application for 114 homes at the Jacksons Lane car park and High Street area of the town last month.
The decision to get rid of the car park went down to the wire with five councillors voting for the plans and five voting against, giving the chairman of the planning committee the casting vote.
The site, which was first earmarked for development in 2006, will be made up of 85 houses and 29 apartments plus new roads and some car parking space.
Following the decision, a petition objecting to the proposed sale of the public car park at Jacksons Lane has gathered 300 names and a public meeting is being held tomorrow (Thursday).
The online petition states: “We, the undersigned, strongly object to the proposed sale of the public car park at High Street, Jackson’s Lane, to a private developer.
“This 500 space car park is fully utilised by staff and visitors to local businesses, of which there are many, and public facilities such as the doctor’s surgery, the chemists, the Salvation Army, the Afro Caribbean Association, the Daylight Centre, the Society of Friends, the Job Centre and the United Reformed Church, all of which have little or no parking facilities of their own.
“We therefore request that the decision whether to sell the land or not is taken by a meeting of the full council and that a public consultation by councillors is carried out prior to this.”
Campaigners feel no alternative or additional provision has been made despite the loss of up to 500 parking spaces.
And while some spaces will be left at Jacksons Lane, they expect these to be taken by people living at the new development.
A spokesman for Wellingborough Council said: “The council’s planning committee has approved the application made by Keepmoat to carry out a residential development on the site at High St/Jackson’s Lane, Wellingborough.
“The statutory public consultation was carried out and the responses received were properly considered in the making of this decision.
“The committee reports and minutes can be viewed on the council’s website.
“The development of this site for uses other than car parking is not new and initial proposals were considered back in 2007.
“Whilst this development will result in a loss of car parking spaces, there is ample alternative parking in the vicinity in Wellingborough town centre to meet demand.
“In addition to this, the council is considering options to increase the number of spaces available off the site to help mitigate the loss.
“The council will carry out ongoing monitoring of car parking and for this reason, a car parking count will be undertaken this year.
“It is planned to repeat the count every two years.
“The council is committed to regeneration and the ongoing vitality of Wellingborough town centre.
“Sustainable residential development will be essential to ensure that the town centre remains relevant and viable into the future.”
Tomorrow’s public meeting about the car park starts at 6pm at Wellingborough United Reformed Church in High Street, Wellingborough.
Anyone wishing to sign a paper version of the petition can do so at the church, which is opposite the Jacksons Lane car park, each morning.
The deadline for anyone wanting to sign the petition before it is handed to the council is June 10.
To read more about last month’s meeting, at which the recommendation for councillors was to delegate to the head of planning and local development to approve the application subject to various conditions and following the completion of a Section 106 planning agreement, click here