Ramsbottom’s Conservative Councillors, Rob Hodkinson and Ian Schofield have welcomed the announcement today by Bury Council of plans for a 200 space long stay car park next to Ramsbottom Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool.
Coun Hodkinson said “I am very pleased that Bury Council have finally agreed to our request for additional long term parking in Ramsbottom.
We have spent over three years lobbying senior officers and politicians at the Council, having meetings and drafting plans to use the spare land adjacent to the Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre.
In February 2016, we met with the then Chief Executive, Mike Owen, and formulated plans for a 200 space car park at Ramsbottom Leisure Centre and Pool.
In January 2017, we announced the results of our surveys of local residents and businesses in the town undertaken during 2016 to see what they thought about the lack of parking in the centre of town.
Businesses and visitors alike had been complaining about the restricted number of parking spaces in the town and that it was forcing residents and visitors to seek alternative locations for shopping and leisure.
The survey that we undertook of local businesses (70% responded) in Ramsbottom town centre revealed that at least 280 employees required all-day car parking during the week. 190 required car parking at weekend. In addition, residents were parking in the town centre for free and getting the bus into Manchester or Bury. Tourists had been parking up and leaving their cars in the town centre all day. This has been forcing shoppers and many visitors out of the town centre. The lack of parking results in the lack of footfall in the town centre.
We continued to lobby the Council throughout 2017 and 2018.
Whilst we are delighted that the plans are now moving forward, It is obviously disappointing that it has taken three years for these plans to be approved by our Labour-run Council. During that time, businesses have gone under due to the lack of parking, residents have suffered due to the lack of on-street residents parking and events such as the Chocolate Festival suffered due to parking problems.”
Coun Schofield added “The current retail offer of our town has been in decline as a result of the lack of suitable parking. Visitors are simply put off by the lack of suitable places to park. Retailers and traders also complain of the lack of parking, and residents of town centre properties also find parking difficult and regularly request “residents only” parking.
We now need the Council to confirm the precise details of how this will work including provision of pedestrian access from the car park to the town centre, perhaps with a dedicated footpath alongside the East Lancashire Railway onto Bridge Street.
Ramsbottom town centre requires a comprehensive rethink of its parking provision – with perhaps short stay parking in the town centre, residents-only parking, and long stay parking at the Leisure Centre site.
We can assure residents that we will work closely with them, and the Council, to ensure that these plans benefit businesses, residents and visitors alike, securing the long term prosperity of our town.”