Will Wiltshire Council let Marlborough have a new residents' car park?Marlborough Town Council are asking Wiltshire Council to transfer to them a piece of land they own off Kelham Garden, so it can be turned into a car park for residents of the town.
The land - 0.43 of an acre - forms an L-shape around the old gas works site. It contains some gas and electricity installations and notices on the gates warn of dangers from "multiple hazards" - smoking on the site is forbidden.
As another notice at the gates proclaims, the site was to have been sold at auction - with a target price of "£45,000+". It has now been withdrawn from auction, and Wiltshire Cabinet will discuss the future of this land at their meeting next Tuesday (April 24).
Wiltshire Council's policy on and process towards Capital Asset Transfers (CATs) - moving assets like playgrounds and buildings from ownership by the unitary council to ownership by town councils - has got a bit stuck. Because of the costs and work concerned, they now want to transfer 'bundles of assets' rather than single items.
There is no guarantee this land would be transferred to Marlborough Town Council.
Councillors at the meeting of the full council on Monday (April 16) had before them two reports on the planning issues and on the likely costs of converting it into a residents' car park - with spaces leased to residents for their exclusive use at an annual cost.
Further discussion of the likely costs involved were kept to the Town Council's private session. However, councillors were told that turning it into a public car park would be unsustainable - considering the high extra costs of conversion (including ticket machines) and the heavy running costs.
Councillors have asked the Town Clerk to continue work on the project by initiating pre-planning application enquiries with Wiltshire Council.
Wiltshire Council cannot claim they do not support residents' parking schemes financially as last July they decided to spend £37,750 on residents' parking schemes in Salisbury.
And they already own, run and take the proceeds from one closed residents' car park in Marlborough - the Green Car Park. Full time spaces there cost £1,300 a year. There is apparently a six-year waiting list for spaces and administration of the allocation has been severely criticised by some applicants as being chaotic and unfair.
There is room on the land at Kelham Gardens for 30 parking spaces - giving an annual income stream that could pay off costs of conversion with a proper surface to seal the ground and lighting.
It would also go some way towards helping the under-provision of parking in the town - something that Wiltshire Council is fully aware of. It would certainly be a boon to residents whose Wiltshire Council 'parking permits' are doubling in cost - and are not guaranteed a parking space.
Because of contamination, the flood risk (the land is close to the River Kennet) and the remaining utility installations, the land may not be suitable for housing.