To consider the report of the City Surveyor.
The City Surveyor presented a report on the condition and structural surveys completed on the Council’s multi-story car parks portfolio in response to the action plan in the New Strategy for Parking 2016 – 2026. He referred to the approach to deliver a Car Park Investment Strategy, and sought Members’ approval for the procurement of consultant services in relation to this project, to deliver a development Potential Feasibility Study of city centre surface car park sites. This would examine whether sites could be brought forward for suitable development of alternative uses, while retaining overall parking space numbers in the city centre. A further piece of work would also explore the implications of the City Council’s longer term aspirations to reduce city centre car use. The City Surveyor suggested that any intensification of parking could include temporary decking rather than the construction of new multi-storey car parks.
A Member welcomed the stance on creating more car parks which could defeat the object of tackling city centre congestion. He understood the issues surrounding the potential development of some of the surface car parking sites and sought additional detail on the issues relating to the Triangle, Howell Road and also Mary Arches Street car parks. He also noted that the Finance Officer would be present later in the meeting to address comments on the approval of up to £100,000 for the consultant’s costs associated with the feasibility and congestion work. The City Surveyor confirmed that the Howell Road car park included a large water attenuation tank, there were shallow foundations near to the Triangle Car Park and archaeological remains under the surface part of the Mary Arches Street Car Park. He detailed how development of those sites might be possible and the challenges they might present.
A Member referred to Electrical Vehicle (EV) and was gratified to note the innovative use of solar panels in some of the City’s car parks, but he asked whether the power for the electrical installation was drawn from the grid or was taken from the Council’s own solar panels. The City Surveyor advised that, where possible EV charging was delivered through the solar panel system, however, if the EV charging arrangements were extended then further grid reinforcement may be required. A Member commented on the earlier discussion at the meeting relating to public transport and specifically that an improved bus service in the city would alleviate some of the concerns raised about congestion.
Place Scrutiny Committee noted the report and requested Executive approval of the following:-
(1) authorising the City Surveyor to procure a consultant to assist with the production of a Car Park Investment Strategy, subject to further funding approval in due course;
(2) authorising the City Surveyor to procure a consultant to assist with the production of a Feasibility Study for the future development of city centre surface car park sites;
(3) authorising the City Surveyor to procure a consultant to assist with work on reducing city centre car usage; and
(4) approval by Council of a budget of up to £100,000 for the consultant costs associated with the feasibility and congestion work.