A public consultation which asked for ideas on possible future uses for the “underused” hard court area at the Brook Way Activity Centre has found an “overwhelming” demand for increased car parking provision at the shared community centre and doctors’ surgery site.
The survey was called after council members failed to support Mayor Brian Hopkinson’s demand, at a meeting last September, for an instant decision to be made in favour of building on the land, with half of it being given over to the Incredible Kids charity.
A total of 242 responses were received, of which 116 specified improved parking as the sole suggestion. A further 27 responses included parking as one of several suggestions, meaning that 59 per cent of respondents asked for something to be done about parking.
A “new building” of some form was suggested by 49 respondents (20 per cent), while six people asked specifically requested the provision of allotments.
Cllr Robert Jones, who had strongly opposed Cllr Hopkinson’s plan, reminded the meeting that the purpose of the consultation had been to “gather ideas” and described the response rate as “terrific”, adding: “Whatever we do, we have to get the car parking right. We need to be conscious of the fact that if we put [some new facility] there, it will increase the demand for parking.”
Cllr Ben Randles agreed that the response in favour of sorting out the parking situation had been “overwhelming” and said it wouldn’t be good for the council “to be seen not to be acting on it”.
However, some other councillors, notably Tom Aditya and Andy Ward, pointed out that the parking problem had become much less of an issue since the surgery introduced disciplinary measures to ensure that its staff are parking off-site, although another, Sarah Pomfret, cautioned that “we need time to monitor the situation, to see if it is maintained”.
It was also noted that the surgery’s enforcement strategy had led to “an increase in staff parking in the residential streets surrounding the site”.
Cllr Jones remarked on the number of requests for a sport facility of some form, something which the council had explicitly ruled out following an ancillary vote at last September’s meeting, and queried why these suggestions had not been given their own category in the report presented to council.
During discussion it was noted that two particular groups, Incredible Kids and the Scouts, had “commented strongly” in favour of having a new building or facilities for their own use, but Cllr Jones opined: “It’s not ours to just give away to one or two groups because they have finance in place”.
Following further discussion, it was agreed that the results of the consultation “be passed to the Leisure, Youth & Amenities Committee for them to look into ideas in more detail, with a view to them coming back to Full Council in 6 – 8 months time with a further report for consideration”.
The full consultation report is available on the town council website.
This article originally appeared in the April 2014 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,450 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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