Councillor Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, has responded to Lib Dem criticism of the plans for developing Park Street, saying;
“It is a great shame that yet again Liberal Democrat councillors are choosing to try and talk down quality improvements for city residents and shoppers. When works starts in January 2021, the new carpark will be reduced in size to 225 spaces to recognise the increasing switch to Park and Ride and future expansion of public transport. It will replace a block nearly 60 years old that is no longer fit for purpose with modern parking where all bays can have electric charging in the future.
“The new building will be “BREEAM Excellent”, the highest existing UK green building standard, and it will not be gas-dependent as the Liberal Democrats misleadingly claim. Hot water and green power will be generated primarily by air source heat pumps and solar hot water panels, alongside first-class building insulation. The traditional option of gas back-up is also being tested against potential alternative future technologies, so we are best in class for such buildings.
“We only have so much space on the accessible part of the carpark, the ground floor, and we have decided following public consultation that all of that needs to be for badly needed, high quality secure cycle parking with 250 spaces, including for cargo bikes.
“On toilet provision, Park Street is currently the only council carpark that has toilet provision built-in, and because it is off-street it has been beset with unacceptable levels of vandalism and periods out of service.
“All our other carparks have public toilets nearby and, as part of the Park Street scheme, we will be adding a special new large Changing Places toilet for use by disabled people and families with young children (http://www.changing-places.org/) by 2021 at the nearby busy public area of Quayside, That’s in addition to the public toilets already there, a few hundred metres from Park Street. We will also work with food and drink businesses near Park Street on a scheme for public access to other toilets so that extra provision is also available ahead of the new carpark opens in 2022. ”
Councillor Gerri Bird welcomed the news that Cambridge is to gain a new, fully accessible public toilet;
“This is something I’ve been campaigning for over a number of years, so it is great news that disabled residents will finally get the facilities that we need.”