September 15 2014 Latest news:
Ajay Nair, Reporter
Sunday, August 10, 2014
The former leader of Brentwood Council has claimed that residents will have less say over plans to redevelop a “dilapidated” car park than first thought.
Cllr Louise McKinlay spoke up in the light of recent public meetings to involve residents in the redevelopment of Wiliam Hunter Way car park.
Major retailers have expressed an interest in taking over the space, but Brentwood First Cllr Russell Quirk, chairman of both the Brentwood Asset group and the Enterprise Committee, has maintained that the people of Brentwood will be able to decide on its future.
Cllr Quirk described interest from retailers as “premature”.
Leaked documents reveal that retailers including Asda, Waitrose and H&M have declared an interest after plans to turn the car park into a cinema and shopping complex fell through earlier this year.
Brentwood Council has organised events for residents to find out more about plans for the space, the first of which took place on Monday.
Cllr Quirk said: “Whilst it’s great the interest from retailers is there, all this interest is a bit premature – I want us to decide what to do with the car park from the ground up.”
A public consultation will start in September after another council event tomorrow (Mon) at 6.30pm.
Cllr Quirk, who admitted there were a minimum of 11 parties interested in the car park, added: “The consultation is going to let the people decide how it should be used and the residents of Brentwood must have ‘the’ say – not ‘a’ say, but ‘the’ say.”
Cllr McKinlay, a Conservative, said: “My concern at the moment is that there seems to be the idea that ‘the people will decide’ – I don’t think that’s fair to the public. I encourage them to provide their input, but the reality will be very different.”