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Crossrail: Lib Dem councillors fight car park sale

May 15, 2013 2:46 PM

Friars Avenue Car ParkCrossrail's bid to buy Friars Avenue Car Park under a compulsory purchase order will be fought by Shenfield Councillors Liz Cohen, Graeme Clark and Barry Aspinell.

Lib Dem leader and County Cllr Aspinell has learned that the CPO was actually received by the Conservative administration on 21st April 2013, but the Conservatives decided to keep the information to themselves until 10th May rather than be open and transparent with Shenfield residents and businesses and, once again, putting political campaigning first and issuing a Conservative leaflet before telling the elected ward councillors or the Shenfield Environmental Partnership (a non-political group set up to manage the effect of Crossrail, amongst other things).

Cllr Liz Cohen said:

"Our position is crystal clear: we are against the sale of Friars Avenue Car Park and will fight Crossrail's CPO. This car park is vital to our local businesses and residents and it must remain otherwise businesses here will fail, and things are difficult enough as it is.

"I am a new councillor and I do not understand why the Tory administration is not prepared to communicate on such a massive topic. We are all in this together, I am a resident too, we need to be able to ask questions and get answers. We can assure you as your Shenfield Councillors, that we will do our upmost to fight for this car park and others if necessary

Cllr Graeme Clark added his comments on the Conservatives' actions and the recent news:

"I am annoyed that they have been sticking "reassuring" political notices through the doors of Shenfield residents rather than concentrate on the quality of negotiations. Now, they have been forced to admit that we are facing the loss of a car park that will lead to major problems for residents and businesses. This will either displace parking into other roads around Shenfield or lead to people just not bothering to shop there any more.

Cllr Aspinell added:

"In the four years I have been county councillor for Shenfield the Tories have kept me out of discussions with Crossrail and constanty told me that they had it all under control. If that is the case, where did this bombshell come from a month ago?

"The Leader and our MP have let us down terribly on this issue and that is why we find Shenfield facing such an uncertain future now with the potential loss of our key shoppers car park."

"Now, at the eleventh hour, we have finally been invited to the negotiating table. For certain, Brentwood is facing a massive legal bill to fight this sale but, at this stage, there is little choice.

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