Huntingdon multi-storey car park won’t be ready for Christmas

Building the Huntingdon Multi-Storey Car park

Building the Huntingdon Multi-Storey Car park - Credit: Archant

The ground floor of the £5million multi-storey car park in Huntingdon will now not open in time for the busy Christmas shopping period as planned.

Chris Allen, Huntingdonshire District Council projects and assets manager, said: “This is a major scheme for the town and we are looking forward to its completion. But we are slightly behind.”

The completion of the four-storey, 400-place car park, earmarked to be fully operational by the end of January, is running three to four weeks behind schedule.

Mr Allen said: “The main problem has been the compact nature of the site and having to keep to a minimum disruption to the rest of the car park.

“We have had to balance the need to work in small areas with materials such as beams being delivered and having to be installed in the right order and at the right time, as there is no space for storage.

“The amount of time we are able to work out of hours is limited due to factors such as health and safety and the effect on the local environment.”

Mr Allen said the council was looking at the possibility of providing extra parking spaces in other parts of the town over Christmas to cope with the increased numbers of festive shoppers.

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At last month’s ceremony marking the start of the demolition of the nearby former Inland Revenue buildings, the architects of the new retail unit at Chequer’s Court, Barber Casanovas Ruffles, said the plan was to get the ­demolition and a significant amount of the car park completed before Christmas.

But the demolition is also running slightly behind schedule.

Howard White, of Churchmanor Estates which owns the land, said: “Completion looks likely now to straddle Christmas as we need to get archaeologists back once the final slabs have been lifted.

“With big old buildings like this there are inevitable delays, but Anglian Demolition are doing a great job.”

He said they were in close discussion with Katy Sismore, BID Huntingdon Manager, and the district council regarding resolution of car parking issues over Christmas.

The development is the first phase of the £25m transformation of Huntingdon, which includes retail units to replace the Inland Revenue building, converting Sainsbury’s current store into three retail units and redeveloping its petrol station into a unit for a “major store”.

Sainsbury’s has planning permission for a multi-million pound store and petrol station at the West Huntingdon redevelopment.