Businesses defend plans for car park
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