AN underused car park in Cirencester has been dubbed a ‘white elephant’ after claims it costs taxpayers thousands of pounds each month.
Whiteway car park in Cirencester is only open to permit holders and Cirencester Rugby Club.
The 158-space car park was built in agreement with the rugby club while Cotswold District Council looked to build a multi-storey car park on the Waterloo Car Park.
However, the development did not take place and now the Whiteway car park is costing the taxpayer and the total bill is expected to exceed £600,000.
Tony Slater, a member of the public, asked council leaders what was being done about the issue at a council meeting on Wednesday, November 16.
He said: “Every time I visit the car park it is completely underused by both the public and businesses.
“It was converted at a cost of close to £400,000. And has not seen any significant return.
“Further to this, in the published accounts there is an annual rental cost of £1,000 a month which I understand is contracted for 10 years.
“If this is correct, then the total cost to the taxpayer will exceed £600,000 if you include machine and landscape maintenance during this period. The net effective cost to the taxpayer is therefore £5,000 a month or close to £200 a day.
“With little or no revenue being generated. When the utilisation of the car park was questioned previously it was stated that it would form part of the parking strategy.
“So, my question is, what is this strategy and why has nothing happened to use this white elephant which is costing the taxpayer significantly on a daily basis?”
CDC Finance cabinet member Mike Evemy said the situation with the Whiteway car park was a legacy of the previous administration.
He explained that the decisions taken previously looked to put a multi-storey car park on the Waterloo Car Park.
“And therefore that car park was built in agreement with the rugby club to provide decamp parking while that development took place,” he said.
“Clearly, that development hasn’t taken place. We’ve had a global pandemic, demand for car parking has reduced as a consequence.
“But I know my colleague Cllr Dale is working with officers to revise the car parking strategy.”