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Anger at plans to rebuild car park

PUBLISHED: 12:01 30 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:13 23 August 2010

A TRADER who collected 13,500 signatures against the demolition of a car park slammed plans to rebuild it as shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. The Reporter revealed last week that Gravesham Borough Council leader Mike Snelling hinted a car

A TRADER who collected 13,500 signatures against the demolition of a car park slammed plans to rebuild it as "shutting the gate after the horse has bolted."

The Reporter revealed last week that Gravesham Borough Council leader Mike Snelling hinted a car park could be rebuilt on the site of the old Lord Street multi-storey car park in Gravesend town centre.

The land was bought by Barratt Homes who planned to build flats on the site, but after demolishing the car park in February 2006, no work has been carried out.

Now the council are in legal talks with the developer, and Mr Snelling revealed that there were a number of options they would look into if they were to regain the land, including building a car park.

Andrew Marshall, of Lumar Jewels, High Street, Gravesend, led a four month campaign to stop the closure of the car park.

He said: "Any shopkeeper in the town will tell you that since the car park was closed the town suffered.

"It was a culmination of things, the opening of Bluewater had a big effect, but if you don't give shoppers easy, simple parking, like we had at Lord Street Car Park, it will drive people away, and that is what has happened.

"Why would people come into Gravesend if they have to pay for parking? It is easier to go to Bluewater, where you can park easily and for free.

"They are making people want to come to the place, and we had to do everything in our power to fight against that, but shutting a major car park was never going to help.

"Like my dad always said, it's very easy to lose a customer, but twice as hard to get them back. If they do want to put a car park back on that site, I won't say no, but I think it is just too late. It is like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted."

Keith Parrett, Managing Director of Barratt Eastern Counties said: "Despite the currnet difficulties in the property market, Barratt remains committed to the development.

"We are currently in discussion with Gravesham Borough Council and its representatives to agree a way forward.

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