Car park plan rejected - COMMENT ON THIS STORY

Beck Hill Carpark
Beck Hill Carpark

THE LORDS Feoffees have hit out after two local councillors voted against their plans for a town centre multi-storey car park.

Plans for a 206-space facility replacing the Feoffees’ current car park on Beck Hill were rejected by an East Riding council planning committee, including councillors Chad Chadwick and Richard Burton, due to a clash with the council’s Area Action Plan (AAP).

Despite the protests of local councillors Ray Allerston, Shelagh Finlay and John Wilkinson, and widespread public support, the Lords Feoffees’ plans were rejected at a planning meeting on Monday.

In a statement to the Free Press, the Lords Feoffees said they were disappointed at the decision to refuse the plan.

It read: “It was sad to note that the motion to refuse the application was made by two local representatives who it would seem did not know the full details of the discussions that had taken place.

“The Lords Feoffees thank the local representatives who spoke in support of the multi-storey car park but deplore the comment made by the committee chairman that ‘a thousand spaces were available at the park and ride so why did Bridlington need any more car parking spaces?’

“It is unbelievable that the council can turn down a substantial investment in a development which would have been of benefit to the town at no cost to the ratepayers.

“The Lords are convinced that the Burlington Parade could go ahead once the multi-storey car park was built but the council’s Area Action Plan remains inflexible.”

East Riding Councillor for Bridlington North, and former mayor of Bridlington, John Wilkinson, spoke at length in favour of the plan, saying: “I am greatly disappointed that Bridlington has lost a golden opportunity which may never again present itself.”

He had told the planning committee that since he moved to the town in 1972 there had been constant calls from residents and businesses for such a facility and that, due to the difficult economic climate, finding a developer in the future could be difficult.

Speaking at the meeting at County Hall, Beverley, Coun Wilkinson told the eastern area planning sub-committee that the AAP “was a flexible document” and that extra parking provided in the council plan could be years away from reality, and would also “inevitably be changed to fit the successful developers plan”.

In their recomendation of refusal, planning officers state a multi-storey car park would “seriously compromise the implementation of the Burlington Parade proposals” in the Area Action Plan, and that the council “will not allow developments that pose an unacceptable risk to achieving the objectives of the Regeneration Strategy”.

Couns Richard Burton (Old Town and Central) and Chad Chadwick (Brid South) voted against the Feoffees’ plans. But Coun Chadwick said he and other councillors were not against car park spaces in the town.

“It is unfortunate that is has come to committee this week, before the public hearing into the AAP. If it had been the following week, it may have been different but as it stands it is against the AAP. If the inspector rejects the AAP, we will go back to drawing board and maybe look again at the car park. I am quite happy for a new car park to be built.”

Coun Burton told the Free Press that while he applauded the Feoffees’ intentions of providing car parking, he could not vote in favour of the plan as it would “compromise the AAP”.

“At this moment in time, it conflicts with the AAP. Being so close to the public hearing, to approve this plan would have been to the detriment to the AAP, and I did not want to affect its outcome,” said Coun Burton.

“I’m all for extra car parking in Bridlington as it is needed but we also need an improved shopping area and the AAP will deliver that. I hope that the council and the Lords can still work together to see what can be done in the future.”

Couns Shelagh Finlay and Ray Allerston, who sit on both Bridlington Town Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, spoke in favour of the plan at the meeting.

“I sent a letter of support to East Riding Council during my time as Bridlington mayor as it is something that would benefit the town,” said Coun Finlay. “As we had made representations as part of the town council, neither myself or Coun Allerston could take part in the vote, but we would have supported the plans.”

Coun Allerston said: “It is a real shame.

“Businesses in the town centre are hanging on by the skin of their teeth and this would have helped greatly, at no extra cost to the rate-payer.

“It was much-needed and the decision to refuse it is terrible for Bridlington.”