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Council to consider 'under-utilised' car park sell-off

Two bids have been received for the Crossways Manor car park in Hook

Crossways Manor in Reading Road, Hook.

Hart District Council is looking to sell off one of its car parks despite concerns raised by councillors.

Hart is set to decide on two rival bids for Crossways Manor car park and the disused public conveniences in Reading Road, Hook.

In a report to Hart’s cabinet, the council is recommended to accept an offer for the purchase of the 66-space site and the toilet building that closed in 2010.

It remains confidential who the bidders are, how much money they have offered and what they intend to do with the site.

Hook Parish Council was consulted on the plans and said that in the absence of information about the change of use of the land, it would not support a sale.

“Selling parking spaces in the centre of Hook is short-sighted in view of the expected growth of Hook,” a spokesman said. “A strategic aim of the parish council is to alleviate school parking problems by using Crossways car park.

“It is expected that all the spaces will be required in future. This is the only sizeable car park in the centre of Hook and once spaces are lost they cannot be replaced. There is no evidence that selling public land for private or commercial use will be of benefit to Hook as a community.”

In July last year, Hart’s capital board considered an offer to purchase part of Crossways Manor car park but agreed that before the offer was considered further a feasibility study on the development opportunities for the site would be undertaken.

The parish council and local ward members were consulted as part of the study. The parish council believes that with the 25% population growth expected for Hook, in order to mitigate the retail challenges, all the car park would be required.

John Elson, author of the report which was due to be discussed by Hart’s cabinet on Thursday (July 3), said: “The feasibility study concluded that the offer submitted was a fair offer and that it was unlikely that sale of part of the car park would compromise a wider redevelopment of the car park site should this be proposed in future.

“It conceded that there would be local resistance to any loss of public car parking although Crossways Manor car park is currently under utilised.”

Mr Elson, head of technical services for Hart, said since then, a further offer has been received for the site. He recommends a buyer be accepted but only if there are measures to prevent a negative effect on Hook.

He said in his report: “If a case were made that any loss of public car parking would have an adverse impact on the village and no mitigation measures were offered, then an application for change of use would not be supported.”

 

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