20 Apr 2015

Conway Street car parks

Last year a planning application for two car parks on the grassed area of Conway Street that borders Parkfield Avenue and Simpson Street was rejected.

Unfortunately, the applicant has appealed this decision. Below you can read my submission to that appeal:

I would like to make the following points regarding this appeal:
  • As you will be aware, the planning committee was unanimous in its view that the original application should be rejected. There was overwhelming opposition to the proposal.
  • The area directly opposite this site (which includes Europa Pools) is currently the subject of a major regeneration proposal. In that context, it would be unwise to allow proposals for additional car parking to proceed until those regeneration plans are finalised.
  • As stated in the original officer's report, "there is no requirement for additional parking provision within this locality". There are currently six council owned car parks within 500 metres and a further four privately operated car parks. In total, these provide 2,187 spaces. The site is extremely close to Birkenhead bus station and Conway Park railway station so there are clear, more sustainable alternatives. The national planning policy framework says local authorities should support a pattern of development that facilitates the use of sustainable transport. This appeal clearly runs counter to that objective.
  • This land is designated as primarily residential. Moreover, the established community on Simpson Street/Parkfield Avenue clearly benefit from the grassed area along Conway Street. This is complemented by a similar strip on the opposite side of Conway Street. This provides an important buffer against noise and pollution. This. This will change completely if this development proceeds. I cannot agree with the officer's report which states this development "would not have an adverse impact onto the character of the area or existing residential amenity," Residents in the surrounding streets are united in their opposition to the proposal for car parks. You will be aware of the petition against the proposal but I would like to add that I have not spoken to a single resident who feels there is any merit in converting this land for car parking.
  • I am particularly concerned that vehicles exiting the Simpson Street car park will not necessarily turn right onto Conway Street. Traffic here frequently backs up from the junction with Exmouth Street. There will be a clear temptation for vehicles to exit left out of the Simpson Street car park and access Conway Street via Simpson Street and Parkfield Avenue. I therefore cannot agree, as stated in the report, that "there are no highway safety issues relating to the proposal". Additionally, there will be a further erosion in air quality in the immediate area.
For these reasons, I urge you to reject this appeal.
Cllr Pat Cleary, Birkenhead and Tranmere ward

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