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Car parking must be included in new plans say residents
4:20pm Tuesday 7th January 2014 in Echo News
WORKERS and residents fear they are being alienated from Basildon town centre.
Campaigner Danny Lovey, of the Basildon Green Action Group, claims plans to regenerate the town centre are flawed because of a lack of parking provision.
He is particularly concerned after proposals emerged to turn another office into flats.
Plans have been submitted to Basildon Council to transform Northgate House, the block above BHS department store, into 60 homes.
No extra parking will be provided for residents.
Under the £1billion Basildon masterplan, affordable car parking spaces could soon be cut back.
The scheme, which is set to be completed by 2017, will see a new cinema, restaurants, bars and cafes built to create a booming night-time economy in Basildon.
Parking charges could be increased to stop commuters and workers using short stay car parks for the whole day, freeing up spaces for shoppers.
Mr Lovey, from Langdon Hills, said: “There is an overall car parking surplus, which is likely to be because of the loss of office workers in the town centre.
“We’ve all seen the abundance of empty offices and the downturn in the economy, loss of shops and associated issues.
“How can the loss of car parking spaces in the town centre ever lead to the prospect of encouraging employers into the town centre, to regenerate the loss of office takeup, if their staff will not be able to park or it will be expensive?”
Sarah Ward, who works at Party Fiesta, in St Martin’s Square, drives to work every day and parks in Westgate car park.
She said: “I think people who are accustomed to driving every day will continue to do so, no matter how much they put prices up.
“It’s just a lot more convenient and you can leave work as soon as you’re finished without having to wait around for buses or trains.”
Basildon Council wants to encourage more town centre visitors and workers to use public transport.
The masterplan states: “Requirements for long stay parking will be managed through future town centre employers being required to provide workplace travel plans to encourage staff to travel using sustainable forms of transport.
“Existing employers will also be encouraged to adopt this approach.
“The considerable improvements to bus and rail facilities identified in the masterplan support this approach.”
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