Start date for construction of multi-storey car park

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Construction of the new £9.1m multi-storey car park in Station Road West will begin towards the end of February next year.

The news comes after Southern Water confirmed its work to move a sewer under the site should be completed by the middle of February.

The road will be closed again for up to six weeks from 2 January until this part of the project is complete.

Meanwhile, the council has confirmed the UK’s leading independent construction and property services company Willmott Dixon will build the car park after a firm of independent surveyors carried out a robust value-for-money examination of its proposal.

Work on preparing a legal contract has started but will not be signed before a meeting of Full Council on 10 January when there is the possibility of a petition being presented calling for the scheme to be abandoned.

In recent weeks, concerns have been raised by some over the lack of a passenger lift.

The car park’s design was subject to both pre-planning consultation as well as statutory consultation undertaken as part of the planning process.

It did not include a passenger lift within the design as provision for disabled drivers can be accommodated on the ground floor.

The consultation process also included discussions with a Development Advisory Panel which comments on disability, accessibility and inclusion issues for council services.

Canterbury City Council Chief Executive Colin Carmichael said: “The provision of passenger lifts is not a legal requirement nor a requirement under Building Regulations.

“Indeed lifts can create more problems for users if they are not working or if people need to escape in the event of a fire.

“That is why it is usually better to make adequate provision for those with mobility problems on the ground floor.”

This is common practice and is the approach taken by Sevenoaks District Council which has recently approved two similar multi-storey car parks in their district.

Mr Carmichael added: “Having said that, we understand the concerns raised by people who do not have a blue badge but would prefer to park on the ground floor because they find stairs difficult to use.

“We propose to provide extra bays on the ground floor for parents with young children and for people with mobility problems that do not have a blue badge.

“It will be possible to reserve these bays through an online parking account linked to the automatic number plate recognition system.”

Council officers are working with public transport providers to produce a conceptual map showing how an improved integrated transport hub could work in the future.

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