Save Newark's Green Space launched to oppose Newark and Sherwood District Council's plans to chop trees
A complaint has been lodged to oppose council plans to extend a town centre carpark at the cost of several mature trees.
Newark and Sherwood District Council granted itself planning permission to create new car parking space to the rear of the former Municipal Building on Baldertongate in November, providing extra parking accessible from London Road carpark. The development would provide 36 parking spaces, including two disabled bays.
However, four Newark organisations have launched a campaign to oppose the scheme because of concerns about the impact on trees and green space in the town.
Campaigner Michael Knapton, chairman of Newark Civic Trust, said: “There is widespread public opposition to these proposals and therefore we are asking that the application be withdrawn.”
A complaint against the decision has been submitted to the council on behalf of the Civic Trust, Newark Sports Association, Professionals in Newark and Newark Green Party.
Michael added: “This complaint is as a result of our deep concerns over Newark and Sherwood District Council’s decision to approve the planning application.
“What frustrates me is that the council should have been aware this was a controversial application and should have entered into more public consultation.
“They chose not to do this, which I find very disappointing.”
Campaigners claim that the planned extension to London Road carpark cannot be justified and is of no substantial public benefit.
Mr Knapton conducted a survey of available spaces in five town centre carparks around midday on a Saturday in November, excluding supermarket, train station or retail car parks. He found 350 empty spaces out of a total of 950, an occupancy rate of just 63%.
The campaigners also claim that in approving the application the council was acting contrary to national planning legislation and its own core strategy.
Among their other concerns are that the plans will damage the environment and will have a negative impact on the town.
A district council spokesman said: “To maintain a thriving and sustainable town centre we need to provide sufficient car parking, including additional disabled bays, to attract shoppers and visitors and there is currently a shortage... particularly with the loss of 60 spaces at the Mount Street carpark.
“In this scheme landscaping and tree replacement works will be carried out to address the loss of four trees.
“There will in fact be a net increase of 16 trees, with four being replaced on the site and a further 16 trees planted in a suitable location nearby... Significant and proper consideration has been devoted to ensuring that the area remains visually appealing.”