Bridgnorth multi-storey car park plan a ‘misuse’ of funds

A chamber of commerce chairman has said using a government recovery handout to draw up plans for a multi-storey car park would be a “misuse” of funds.

Steve Robbins, chairman of Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce
Steve Robbins, chairman of Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce

Shropshire Council has been allocated £288,194 from the national Welcome Back fund, which will be used to support town centre businesses in their recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

It has been suggested a slice of the funding will be used to cover planning costs to build a multi-storey car park on Innage Lane in Bridgnorth to resolve parking issues.

But Bridgnorth Chamber of Commerce said the money should be used to directly help “struggling” traders.

Steve Robbins, chamber of commerce chairman, said: “I’m not sure that our traders, who are struggling and in need of help now, would really appreciate Shropshire Council using the money that has been given by the government for that purpose, to be spent on plans for a multi-storey car park which has been talked about since before that council even existed and is still no nearer to being built.”

Bridgnorth’s representatives on Shropshire Council have been calling for additional car parking for some time.

The idea is being considered by council leader Peter Nutting.

Projects

Mr Robbins said: “I really don’t think the money is meant to be used by councils on projects that they should be funding.

“Welcome Back money is surely supposed to be used to assist the reopening of our shops and return to the high street of shoppers – it seems to me that this would be a misuse of the money.”

Mr Robbins added that he was “sceptical” about the probability of Bridgnorth’s notorious parking problems being alleviated, and that he would contact the town’s MP Philip Dunne for his opinion.

Shropshire is among 70 councils to share a slice of the government’s new £56 million Welcome Back fund to help England’s high streets and coastal towns safely reopen ahead of the summer.

Councillors Les Winwood, Elliot Lynch, William Parr and Christian Lea, have expressed their support for the creation of a multi-storey car park.

The county’s estates, planning and transport teams have been working on the best approach for the scheme.

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