The Paradise Circus facility on Brindley Drive is often used by visitors to the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Library of Birmingham and Symphony Hall as well as other nearby attractions.
It also generates more than £700,000 a year in net income for the council although its future viability was declared ‘at risk’ because of the daily charge being introduced for high polluting cars from next year.
Yesterday (Wednesday 22nd) the cabinet agreed the car park was ‘surplus to requirements’ with the site earmarked for redevelopment.
The decision raised ‘alarm bells’ with Councillor Rob Alden, leader of the Conservative opposition group, who said: “Have we compared what the business case is for the theatre and the library for say actually around the need for this car park, for sustaining them in terms of being viable, particularly the theatre, being viable organisations going forward?
“Because clearly anyone who’s tried to park in that car park on an evening will know it’s absolutely full to the rafters and there is no other particular sensible place for those people to go an park, there’s no on-street parking in that area and the nearest other car park at Brindley Place is already full in the evenings.”
Kevin Hicks, assistant director for highways and infrastructure on the council, moved to allay his concerns saying that a 500-space car park would be provided as part of the ambitious Paradise scheme, while the venues in question would also be served by the Birmingham Westside Metro extension.
Council leader Ian Ward added: “We are of course now encouraging people to use public transport and cycling and walking, but in the case of the theatre, I’m sure people will come to the theatre from a wider area that will be served by the Metro when it gets itself into Centenary Square.
“I don’t really think that’s too much of an issue in regard to the sale of this particular property.”
Some of the financial implications for the council of selling the Paradise Circus car park were withheld and instead included in a private document.
The site was one of two car parks, along with a facility on Lawson Street near Aston University, confirmed for disposal.