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Warwick Castle Aims For More Cars

Tourists visiting Warwick Castle could soon be in for an easier ride if the go-ahead is given to plans to expand the car park by building on a historic landscape.

Bosses at the popular attraction are hoping to get permission to increase the number of spaces from 320 to 520, but want to build on grounds landscaped by Capability Brown.

There have been a string of objections and amendments to the plan, which will receive its final verdict from councillors at Warwick District Council next week.

More than 200 trees are earmarked for the chop in the expanded car park, which will be an extension south from the existing car park.

Bays would be irregularly spaced to allow other trees to survive, and most of the trees that will come down are in poor condition.

Managers at the castle say the extra parking is needed because signs in the town do not help tourists find other car parks.

They say the plans are partly in response to criticism from neighbours, and also to allow for the expected rise in visitor numbers in the coming years.

The plans have been modified several times since they were first submitted, to meet the requirements of English Heritage, as the woodland is registered as a Grade I Historic Landscape.

There were also fears from ecologists that a family of badgers living nearby would be disturbed., and the plans were altered to take the road away from the sett.

Councillors are recommended to grant the report, with strict conditions.

A report to them by planning officers said:

“The application site forms part of the Capability Brown landscaped setting of the castle, and this fact has been recognised in the Grade I listing.

“Clearly, the setting out of a car park in such an area is at first sight an unacceptable land use and alternative solutions should be sought.

“Other options have been discussed with the applicants but it is clear that visitors are reluctant to use town centre car parks, and very few visitors are likely to arrive by public transport.

”The castle reports that visitors to attractions like this expect to arrive by car and to be able to park it on site.

“The applicants feel that to disappoint visitors by a failure to provide the parking would simply discourage these people from attending the castle at all.”

Members of the planning committee have visited the site and will decide the matter on Tuesday at 6pm.

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CWN / Politics / Warwick District Council / 2 Nov 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM