An opposition motion to postpone the building of the controversial multi-storey car park at Station Road West in Canterbury has been defeated.
Labour councillors called on the Conservative-controlled city council to use the delay to explore other transport solutions and to consider air quality implications for the busy St Dunstan’s area.
But the motion by Cllr Simon Warley and Labour group leader Cllr Alan Baldock was lost by 24-6.
Before the vote was taken at the meeting of the full council in the Guildhall tonight (Thursday), Cllr Baldock had implored members to “hit the pause button for two years”.
The motion comes at a time when the city council is beginning a public consultation of its Air Quality Action Plan which comprises a raft of measures designed to lower car use and thereby reduce pollution.
Critics of the car park scheme, some of whom are considering legal action against it, argue it contradicts efforts to reduce pollution by encouraging traffic into St Dunstan’s.
Cllr Baldock said: “This motion seeks to give us all a chance to stop and think and listen to the results of the Air Quality Action Plan consultation and to consider new ideas like commuter buses.
“Then we can reconsider whether we actually need this project – or something completely different.
“Please think again before we commit to more than £10 million of debt that is probably out of date and failing to meet today’s transportation and environmental needs.”
Conservative Stephen Bartley said that the car park would help people commuting to work in London.
“People need to be able to park at Canterbury West station,” he said. “This car park does not mean we are in favour of pollution.
“It is not being done arbitrarily. There is nothing arbitrary about people’s health.”
Earlier this month, the city council’s planning committee approved the 374-space three-storey scheme.