Busi­nesses de­fend plans for car park

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR PICTURES -

A BUSI­NESS fo­rum has de­fended plans to knock down the vil­lage’s pub­lic toi­lets and re­place it with a 26-space car park.

Heidi Al­toun­yan, a lol­lipop lady who works on New Road, claimed the pro­posed clo­sure would have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the vil­lage, and has set up a pe­ti­tion to keep the toi­lets open.

But Carol Hamil­ton, chair of Prest­bury Busi­ness Fo­rum, said it is a pos­i­tive move, say­ing the cost of run­ning the toi­lets is out­weighed by the need for more park­ing to in­crease foot­fall in the vil­lage and boost busi­ness.

He said: “The us­age of the toi­let fa­cil­i­ties is very lim­ited as de­ter­mined by the Plan for Prest­bury sur­vey which re­vealed the av­er­age us­age was 12 peo­ple per day with two thirds of th­ese be­ing com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle driv­ers. Af­ter the Parish Coun­cil took own­er­ship of the site, they worked hard to re­duce the op­er­at­ing costs by one third, but this still means £15,000 per year to keep them open and this is the Coun­cil’s largest sin­gle ex­pen­di­ture.”

He added: “The com­mer­cial life of the Vil­lage is cry­ing out for more park­ing ca­pac­ity.

“The para­mount fac­tor lim­it­ing the in­crease in foot­fall in the Vil­lage is the lack of ad­e­quate park­ing pro­vi­sion.

“Ninety-one per­cent of the busi­nesses say the lack of park­ing is ad­versely af­fect­ing their cus­tom. Given the trend of in­ter­net shop­ping and that we are sit­u­ated very close to two sig­nif­i­cant shop­ping towns, the Vil­lage of Prest­bury has to fight very hard to main­tain its com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity.”

The fo­rum pro­poses a 26 space car park with land­scap­ing which hides it from New Road, uses low-level light­ing and main­tains the area as a veg­e­tated, open space, with Prest­bury busi­nesses meet­ing much of the cost.

Carol added: “When this plan was pre­sented to the com­mu­nity in Oc­to­ber 2009 at the Plan for Prest­bury Open Week­end in the Vil­lage Hall, it re­ceived a 61pc sup­port vs 29pc against re­sponse from the 350 peo­ple at­tend­ing.

“Since the Coun­cil has taken the de­ci­sion to close the toi­lets at the end of Fe­bru­ary, the Busi­ness Fo­rum be­lieves the next step should be the cre­ation of an ad­di­tional car park as the best means to sup­port the com­mer­cial well be­ing of the com­mu­nity.”

Three busi­nesses have also signed up to make their toi­lets freely avail­able to the pub­lic and will erect a plaque out­side so that res­i­dents can iden­tify where they can go.

●● Top, the cur­rent toi­lets, be­low, an artists im­pres­sion of how the new site could look

●● Plans show how the space could be used for a car park at Prest­bury

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