Barb's Wire with Cheltenham borough councillor Barbara Drive
I DO feel in Cheltenham, and indeed the UK in general, should we start thinking outside the box.
Why oh why do we continue to build so many supermarkets, shops, blocks of flats with no underground parking or at least undercroft parking? When we build a house there should be a garage built in.
With more super stores, business parks and other developments being installed and thought about, these should never be allowed with car parking on the surface. Other countries have been putting cars underground now for some time and are flourishing, so we do not have to reinvent the wheel, just look round and see how it is working in other places.
Why do we continue to give so many hectares (or even acres) over to a car park when they can go under buildings?
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If a developer wishes to build in Cheltenham it should be a rule, underground or undercroft parking or you cannot build. I am told the developer does not like that as it cost them more, but, sorry, given the choice to build or not to build I am quite sure which they will do. Do we need any more cars parked in our streets?
One excuse is that flooding would be a problem. Just look at Annecy, one of our twin towns who have an underground parking lot in the town centre right next to the very large lake. Modern engineering will stop it flooding.
Years ago it was thought some underground parking should be under Montpellier Park just like the one under Hyde Park, which is on a much greater scale. I am sure the funding would come from somewhere if they were given all rights to the income this would generate and the council leaves it to them.
We need houses for people to live in and we need facilities for all residents to enjoy. We should not just lecture people about driving and parking, we have to recognise the car is here to stay and has to be parked somewhere, but surely under buildings is the place for that.
I am all for encouraging walking or cycling and the use of buses, but you have to be realistic. People enjoy owning a car even if they use public transport or their legs going about their everyday lives. Let's start debating about where cars are to be parked as ignoring the problem will not make it go away.