Parking spaces set to shrink: Thousands of bays re-drawn to squeeze in more employees

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A quarter of parking spaces in the city centre are set to SHRINK to make room for 235 new spaces.

More than 5,000 bays in CMK will be re-drawn to create more parking spaces for employees – at a cost of £1,277 each.

But drivers could find themselves in a tight spot as the bays are narrowed to just 2.3 metres – ten centimetres less than the minimum recommended.

The British Parking Association this week criticised the concept of squeezing in cars to create more spaces.

“There is a balance between capacity and efficiency,” a spokesman said.

“Simply cramming in additional spaces is counter-productive because the car park operates inefficiently.”

The controversial plan follows a promise to provide 1,000 additional employee spaces by April next year.

Councillor Matt Clifton has so far created staff bays by altering almost 800 premium and standard spaces but will now put forward his £300,000 plan to help him hit his target.

Tory Councillor Alex Walker has slammed the move as a “desperate” attempt to deliver on his promise.

He said: “There is the potential for an increased risk in scratches and dents as drivers try to get in and out of their vehicles.

“This is a desperate last-ditch attempt to make up the numbers and is yet another blow for drivers.

“We need to be far more ambitious in how we tackle the shortage of parking in CMK for both shoppers and employees.”

Council papers this week revealed that the option to stick to an average width of 2.4m was thrown out because it would have meant losing 34 spaces.

Other ways to create employee spaces that had been looked at included a new multi-storey car park, decking systems and additional temporary surface parking.

However, investigations suggested that these options “did not represent value for money”.

Employees will not be the only ones to feel the squeeze. Two weeks ago the Citizen revealed that shoppers will have to pay four times more to park in some parts of CMK.

On December 7 the price of 300 standard bays will rise from 50p to £2 an hour in spaces spread out near intu and around Silbury Boulevard.

It sparked reaction from parking competitor intu, prompting the centre boss to assure shoppers their charges would remain the same.

At a meeting on Tuesday, Mr Clifton will confirm the decision and get the wheels moving to narrow the 235 spaces.

Mr Clifton was unavailable for comment this week, but in a press release earlier this month he stated: “The public told us that they wanted more parking spaces in CMK for staff who work there and I am delighted that we have been able to deliver on this.”