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An underused car park near one of the borough’s busiest high streets will be investigated for development potential, as part of the area’s rejuvenation project.

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Redbridge Council will launch a study to explore the possibilities of developing the Craven Gardens Car Park, in Craven Gardens, Barkingside, alongside the £2.1million scheme which will see a town square created.

Cllr Harold Moth said: “My first choice for the site would be a polyclinic, which has been spoken about for a long time. Surgeries in the area are at breaking point so that is much needed.

“Anything that would bring footfall into the area would get people’s votes. Ever since Sainsbury’s moved, people tend to gravitate to the other end of the High Street.

“I would love to see someone like Marks & Spencer set up there or maybe a small hotel which has also been mentioned.”

It is proposed that one third of the 173-space car park should be released, and the site be used to increase the sense of Fullwell Cross as a destination.

Cllr Moth added: “The current car park makes very little income so it should be reduced in size, but there still needs to be a safe place for parents to drop off their children at King Solomon High School.” Gary Diamond, vice-chairman of Barkingside Traders Association, said: “From a retailers perspective, I think the car park should retain as many spaces as possible.

“We are spending all this money on the area, and if there is nowhere to park once it’s finished then it would be pointless. We must keep the area as customer friendly as possible.”

Cllr Joyce Ryan added: “If anything is to be built on the site, the highways must be considered. The area is already highly polluted with traffic. That doesn’t mean that I’m not eager to see the area rejuvenated, but parking and the amount of cars must be taken into account.”

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