PLANS to almost double the size of a car park in Berkeley has been given the go-ahead.

Stroud District Council has approved a move to expand the Marybrook Street car park.

The district council currently provides 24 spaces at the site on a free of charge basis with a maximum stay of 23 hours.

But civic chiefs feel it is not enough and the town may be losing out on vital trade from passing tourists who struggle to park in the area.

As a result of this need, district councillors voted on Thursday, December 14 to extend the car park and provide an extra 23 spaces.

Plans expected to cost £145k 

District Council leader Catherine Braun (G, Wotton-under-Edge) presented the report at the meeting in Ebley Mill. The plans are expected to cost in the region of £145,000.

Gazette Series: The layout of the plans for Marybrook Street Car Park in Berkeley - photo by Stroud District Council The layout of the plans for Marybrook Street Car Park in Berkeley - photo by Stroud District Council

Cllr Braun explained the work would need planning permission and would involve demolishing a garage on the site.

“The full market value of the garages would transfer into our housing revenue account,” she said.

“This project has been developed in partnership with Berkeley Town Council who came to us with this proposal over a year ago.

“And who have committed some of their own resources to the works. They are supportive of the proposals in council tonight.

“The town council has previously highlighted a lack of parking as being an issue for their town and see the project as a good solution.”

She also said new disabled spaces would be considered in the plans.

Gazette Series: Marybrook Street in Berkeley - photo by Google Maps Marybrook Street in Berkeley - photo by Google Maps

Councillor Robin Layfield (Community Independents, Rodborough) asked for assurances that a “decent amount” of disabled parking would be provided.

And Cllr Natalie Bennett (Independent Left, Nailsworth) said she had been contacted previously about the lack of disabled parking spaces in Berkeley.

“It’s definitely something that I’ve got as a priority. That is definitely something that is going to be considered seriously.”

Officers confirmed it was an important issue and that parking bays would be considered when drawing up the plans.

Cllr Keith Pearson (C, Painswick and Upton) said market towns are dying because of a lack of parking because fewer people are shopping in them because they can’t find anywhere to park or that it is too expensive.

“It’s a good idea,” he said. “I will support it wholeheartedly.”

And Cllr Lindsey Green (C, Berkeley Vale) said she too was fully supportive of the proposals and commended Berkeley Town Council for the great work they have done with it.

“They’ve put in so much effort to do this as well as their town improvement plan which this will feed into,” she said.

“We’ve got things like the Dr Jenner museum, the castle, Cattle Country Farm Park.

“We’ve got so much on offer but the problem Berkeley has is that people go to those places and then because they can’t park when they come up into the town they carry on. That is what this will help to prevent.”

Cllr Chloe Turner (G, Minchinhampton) said she felt there was a conflict between the district council’s economic regeneration objectives and their environmental ones.

She said she would vote for the scheme but would love to see ecological improvements as part of the scheme as well as secure cycle parking.

“On the face of it, a new car park is not why I became a councillor,” she said.

“Despite my reservations I do respect the right of local communities to bring forward projects they see as important.”

The council voted to approve the scheme by 33 votes in favour and three abstentions.