12:00pm Wednesday 11th September 2013
By Chris Warne
AROUND £300,000 could be spent improving the multi-storey car park at Merrywalks if Stroud District Council clinches a deal to take over its management.
The multi-storey is currently operated by NCP but its owner Streetlands has offered the district council the opportunity to run it once its agreement with the private car parking firm expires in December.
Members of the authority’s strategy and resources committee are now due to discuss the proposal on Tuesday, September 24, before any final decision is taken.
"This car park is often visitors’ first experience and impression of Stroud town centre and we believe it is in need of investment including repairs and improvements to signage," said SDC’s leader Geoff Wheeler (Lab, Dursley).
"Streetlands and the council would put forward £100,000 towards these to accompany the £200,000 that is already lined up to be invested in repairing the top floor next to Stroud Bowl.
"We’re even looking at the possibility of discounts, such as free parking in the evenings, to encourage cinema goers and customers of other businesses in the town."
Bill Wrather, of Streetlands Ltd, said: "We are pleased to be working with Stroud District Council on this new initiative and hope that this important facility will be improved for the benefit of the whole of Stroud."
At the start of the millennium, SDC contributed £1 million towards Streetlands’ £8 million extension of the Merrywalks Shopping Centre, which saw the construction of the Apollo cinema, now run by Vue Cinemas.
"Stroud District Council already manages over 30 car parks across the district, including five in Stroud town centre," Cllr Wheeler added.
"The inclusion of the Merrywalks car park with the other town centre sites will allow these essential amenities to be managed in a way which encourages visitors to the cinema, other businesses and the town centre generally, to the benefit of the local economy as a whole."
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