Plans have been submitted for a £20 million multi-storey car park next to the John Lewis department store in Milton Keynes.
If approved by Milton Keynes Council, the proposal will significantly increase the number of car parking spaces in central Milton Keynes.
Hermes, asset manager for the joint owners of the shopping centre, said that a survey of customers and retailers had identified lack of car parking as the single biggest issue the city centre faced.
The new facility will bring a total of 1,412 parking spaces on the site of the current surface level car park in Marlborough Gate.
A well-attended public exhibition at the Centre:MK saw more than 80 per cent of people stating they were in favour of the proposals.
Ben Tolhurst, of Hermes, said: “We were delighted that so many people took time out of their Saturday to come along and see the plans and tell us what they think. More than eight out of 10 people said they were in favour and this is a massive vote of confidence from local people and visitors.
“The car park will help to reinvigorate the eastern end of the city centre, providing secure and visitor friendly parking for shoppers as well as for people visiting the nearby art gallery and theatre in CMK’s cultural quarter.
“We are particularly proud of the design and have worked closely with the Council, English Heritage and local stakeholders to ensure it reflects the unique character of central Milton Keynes and respects the shopping centre’s status as a Listed Building.”
The car park will use the latest technology, such as number plate recognition and vacant bay indicators, and will be as user-friendly as possible, with visitors able to pay when they leave the car park, giving people the freedom to stay for as long as they choose without having to decide in advance.
It has been designed in collaboration with the Council’s conservation officer, English Heritage and local stakeholders so that it is in keeping with the Centre:MK’s Grade II listed status. It will be lower in height than the shopping centre and built in a mix of materials including steel, white concrete and aluminum to complement the main shopping building.
The owners of the Centre:MK will finance the £20 million cost from their own resources without any investment from the public purse.
However, given the demand of parking clearly outweighs the supply you would have thought the council would be proactive in addressing this, especially as those who work in Milton Keynes have the privilege of having to pay for a parking space.
Whilst a review into parking is being undertaken by Milton Keynes Council, it is believed that temporary measures must be taken immediately to alleviate the lack of available purple spaces, as the situation has now become untenable.
There are pockets of land available, in order to help remedy the problem.
Land such as that opposite Sainsbury’s and The Hub running parallel with Childs Way has been left vacant, serving only as an eyesore.
Other areas, such as the site of the former Wyevale Garden Centre in South 10th Street and an unused car park neighbouring Winterhill Retail Park could also be used.