OPTIONS for the redevelopment or refurbishment of Cambridge City Council’s Park Street car park are set to be discussed by councillors at a special meeting in November, after investigatory work ruled out the preferred underground car park option as too expensive, and too disruptive, due to the period needed for the works.
The council and Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP), its Joint Venture Investment development and delivery partner, have been investigating options for the redevelopment or refurbishment of Park Street car park, including looking in detail at various design options for the site.
CIP is assisting the council on a number of development opportunities in Cambridge to maximise the benefits arising from the development of the council’s assets, including updating car parks and building more badly needed affordable homes.
Councillors approved detailed investigation work into the feasibility of options including for a three or four storey underground car park with housing and commercial units above it in January 2016.
At that time it was envisaged that the scheme would take 18 to 24 months to complete and it was recognised that there needed to be a clear focus on establishing the impact of it on local residents and businesses, both during and after completion of the construction work.
A report will be presented to councillors that will describe the outcome of the feasibility work and recommend that other options should be pursued. These include alternative above ground redevelopment or refurbishment of the current car park.
The investigatory work into the large scale underground car park option showed it would be too costly and too disruptive for residents and businesses due to the likely construction period.
Other complicating factors include the need for archaeological investigations, construction challenges relating to going three or four storeys below ground and the unavailability of public car parking at Park Street for the duration of the works.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “The council and its investment partnership have carried out detailed feasibility work and it is now clear that going deep underground for a new Park Street car park is not a viable option.
“We will now look at the other alternatives we were considering, which include redeveloping Park Street as an above ground car park, or refurbishing the existing car park.
“Throughout our investigations, the need to minimise disruption to local residents and businesses and ensure continuity of parking elsewhere has been at the forefront of our minds.
“We are clear that there still needs to be a successful scheme for Park Street car park to bring it up to modern standards. Redevelopment and refurbishment options will be brought forward for consideration, followed by consultation on the preferred option.”
Cllr Herbert added: “Mitigation measures planned for any scheme at Park Street will include limiting the closure period as far as practical and promoting other car and cycle parks in the city centre where spaces are available, bus services and also the park and ride.”
Cambridge City Council has also been working with other councils as a member of the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) on transportation and related issues, to improve traffic movement in and around Cambridge.
GCP is proposing a number of transport schemes to improve traffic movement in and around the city to address congestion and the growth of the Greater Cambridge area.
The city council is set to develop a car parking strategy for Cambridge, working with the county council which is responsible for Park and Ride and on street car parking.
This strategy will take account of car parking need, aligning investment in car parks to meet long term future requirements and helping to tackle congestion at peak periods.
The report on Park Street will be published on the council’s website ahead of a special Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee meeting in November (date and details to be confirmed).