Lack of parking raises question over hire of conference room
PLANS to hire out a training room at a multi-million pound fire station could be hampered by a lack of parking spaces.
Fire chiefs had created a state-of-the-art conference room at the new £4.4 million Cheltenham Road East facility in Churchdown.
They had hoped to hire it out to charities, local authorities and NHS groups.
But the money-raising plan could fail after a parish councillor complained about the lack of parking spots.
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The training room, which cost £750,000 to build and kit out, it was designed to host meetings of up to 100 people.
But when it was chosen as the venue for a conference of parish council representatives from across the county, the 25 attendees were dismayed to be told there was nowhere for them to park.
Richard Fuller, a member of Prestbury parish council, said the situation was "farcical".
He said: "The county council had invited us to the meeting and we had people coming from all over the county.
"But when we got there we were told we couldn't park as there were only six spaces.
"It seems unbelievable that this fire station was built at great expense, and designed to include a centre for meetings, and yet there is no parking.
"What is the point in having a room which can hold 100 people, yet only six spaces outside? It doesn't make sense.
"The person who was representing the county council at the meeting apologised to us and told us we wouldn't be using the venue again."
The premises opened last May as one of four new stations in the county.
Other new buildings were unveiled as part of the £40 million revamp are in Uckington, Keynsham Road, Cheltenham and Tuffley.
The conference room has been booked on 51 occasions by 18 different groups since the station opened.
A spokesman for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed there were only six parking spaces at the site.
He said: "All four of our new, state-of-the-art fire stations have been situated to best ensure the safety of residents across the county by enabling crews to respond to emergencies as quickly as they can.
"Where possible, the site can be used to accommodate group meetings and has other community uses, but this is not its primary purpose."
"Groups wishing to use the community facilities are made aware of the parking arrangements on booking and when attending an induction on site prior to their event."