MORRISONS CAR PARK UPDATE!
Update following my request to the councils CEO regarding the intended parking restrictions and excessive charges at Morrisons car park.
The CEO responded by agreeing to provide further advice and the planning officers scheduled a meeting with Morrisons representatives from Head Office to address concerns. The Councils CEO also co-opted the Cabinet Member, Cllr Warren Gibson and a joint meeting with myself, officers and fellow ward councillors was arranged for yesterday to update us of the position.
The planning officer said retrospective planning applications were being sought for the signage and cameras as well as the newly erected advertising hoarding and those supplementary activities taking up parking spaces that haven’t already obtained permission. The planning officer explained however that did not present an opportunity to object to the new parking regime.
I then raised the issue of the Council enforcing its own planning condition 14. The planning officer stated that whilst he accepted my interpretation that the condition 14 had been breached by virtue of the availability of the car park at all times would no longer be the case due to prohibitive charging, neither he nor the the council’s solicitor felt there was sufficient legal grounds to enforce this. However, when pressed he said he was willing for the council to seek independent legal advice for further guidance.
All councillors present agreed with my view that this route should be pursued in the interests of the residents and to protect the viability and vitality of the Town Centre and its local traders.
We then discussed what options were available should officers still wish not to enforce the condition once legal advice was received. I requested that if this did occur, whether I could bring a motion to full council instructing the officers to pursue enforcement of condition 14. The planning officer replied that this would be possible and said he would be happy to assist with the wording of the motion. Cllr Gibson as cabinet member agreed that the motion, should it become necessary, had his support.
As an aside, the officer also agreed to go back to Morrisons regarding the issue of the public exit onto town centre at the eastern side being closed, the broken fence in New Road and some suggested variations and concessions to the parking regime. Thank you to all councillors who have given their support.