The council is proposing to spend up to £10.9m over the next four years reconstructing the ageing car park adjacent to the former Central Library with a larger car park and redeveloping the Civic East car park with around 52 new homes.
Cllr Ron Woodley, leader of the council, said: “These combined proposed projects are very exciting and will add to the regeneration of Victoria Avenue which is really starting to gather pace, what with the recent opening of The Hive, the on-going renovation of many office blocks into housing and the police station refurbishment.
“The existing car park that served the former library building is approaching the end of its design life, and we believe that this provides a perfect opportunity to create more parking spaces in this area.
“Instead of simply replacing what is already there on a ‘like for like’ basis, a new car park with additional levels could be created providing more parking spaces in this location close to the town centre.
“These new spaces would provide new staff parking for council workers displaced by the redevelopment of the Civic East car park, but also more spaces closer to the town centre for shoppers, local businesses and visitors to use. It will also generate much needed additional income for the council.
“The redevelopment of the Civic East car park with 52 new homes would follow on from the ongoing regeneration of the former South Essex College site in Carnarvon Road, help with our ambition to create more housing for local people and also generate sustainable income.”
The Victoria Avenue car park that served the former library provides 165 spaces, and the Civic East car park (staff parking behind Civic Centre) provides 164 spaces. The new car park could provide 335 to 410 spaces depending on the height.
In a separate project, it is also proposed that £400,000 is spent from April 2016 to March 2018 to improve general car park infrastructure.
Pay and display equipment will be upgraded across all car parks, there will be surface improvements at East Beach and Rayleigh Road, lighting upgrades at Belton Gardens, layout alterations to improve accessibility and security and communication links with the CCTV service at University Square, and communication link improvements with the CCTV service at Tylers Avenue.
The council always wants to increase parking charges at the Seaway, Fairheads Green and Western Esplanade car parks between April and October each year. Raising prices at these three central seafront car parks will raise an additional £200,000, which the council says is needed to keep the seafront clean throughout the busy summer months.