2,000 people fight car park sale

By James HoreMORE than 2,000 people have signed a petition opposing the closure of a town's car park. Manningtree's only public car park in Riverside Avenue East was declared surplus to requirements by Tendring District Council, which agreed to sell it to the Co-op.

By James Hore

MORE than 2,000 people have signed a petition opposing the closure of a town's car park.

Manningtree's only public car park in Riverside Avenue East was declared surplus to requirements by Tendring District Council, which agreed to sell it to the Co-op.

However, under the terms of the sale agreement, the Co-op will have to keep the site as a public car park for 10 years.

But residents fear the decision, taken behind closed doors by councillors, could affect both shopping in the town and accessibility to the health centre.

Sarah Candy, district councillor for Lawford, said she had been overwhelmed by the support that the campaign had received.

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“We have had almost 2,000 people sign this petition and 11 local parish councils have also written to voice their concerns about this decision,” she added.

“I am hoping that this show of strength will mean that the car park will be protected for at least 15 years rather than the 10 years originally suggested and also that access to the health centre will be guaranteed.

“If we get those assurances, then the hard work will have been worthwhile and we will have achieved a small victory for this part of the district.”

The petition against the sale has been handed to Tendring District Council. Mick Page, its regeneration portfolio holder, said his only concern was to protect the car park for the people of Manningtree for as long as possible.

“I am well aware of the strength of feeling locally, but now the decision has been taken to sell the car park, I will do all I can to get the best deal for Manningtree,” he added.

The Co-op has said it had “no intention” of using the car park for any other purpose.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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