Campaigners aiming to save London Road carpark trees after Newark and Sherwood District Council's planning committee approves application
No extra spaces are needed at Newark’s London Road carpark, and trees should not be felled to create them, according to a member of Newark Civic Trust.
Thirty-six extra spaces would be created on land at the back of the former Municipal Offices on Baldertongate.
Four existing spaces would be lost to create a new entrance, and three mature trees between the offices and the library would be felled.
Newark and Sherwood District Council planning committee voted eight to five in favour of a council application to use grassland and an area of hardstanding to provide more parking.
The council’s business manager for growth and regeneration, Mr Matt Lamb, said the carpark was very busy throughout the day, and hoped the proposed additional parking would help alleviate congestion.
The civic trust opposed the application, saying it was the responsibility of local authorities to preserve and enhance local heritage.
Other objectors, and some of the councillors, were concerned about the loss of trees from the site.
Mr Michael Knapton, of Newark Civic Trust ,said he believes the council has made the wrong decision.
“Since the application has been passed I have been contacted by members of the public who are extremely angry at the proposals,” he said.
Mr Knapton took issue with Mr Lamb saying that the trees due to be felled were of no public benefit because they were on land that was not used recreationally, even though an arboricultural report said the mature trees had high amenity value.
“By this logic, only trees on publicly-accessible land are of public benefit?
“Trees and green spaces in urban environment improve air quality, and the visual appeal of an area, and can improve mental health and well-being — surely factors which are of a public benefit?” he said.
“Instead of building more carparks, I believe Mr Lamb and all those who help manage our town should focus on developing sustainable transport options, promoting sustainable business in the town centre, and protecting the but and natural environments and improving the public realm.”
A district council spokesman said: “This decision was made by the district council’s planning committee.
“It considered a full a range of issues, including the loss of town centre green space; theimpact on the conservation area, a listed building and the library; whether there was a need for additional parking; and the objections from the Civic Society and members of the public.”