Mum Kara Hamilton crosses Guy St with sons Conner, Blake and Seth.
Mum Kara Hamilton crosses Guy St with sons Conner, Blake and Seth. Emma Channon

Parking debate leads to study call

A MAJOR review of on-street car parking in central Warwick will be on the cards if a recommendation to the Southern Downs Regional Council meeting tomorrow gets the tick.

Councillors are due to make a final decision on an extension to a local dental surgery which raised the issue of problems with parking in the precinct bounded by Wood, Dragon and Guy Sts.

The precinct takes in major parking generators including the Condamine Medical Centre and Warwick Central State School, with the existence of a bike lane along a section of Dragon Street hampering the creation of additional car parks.

A plan by Granite Belt Dental, at the corner of Dragon and Percy Sts, to expand their business and employ two more dentists last week won councillors’ tick of preliminary approval but it did tease out the issue of overflow parking from other businesses and the school.

Granite Belt Dental is not required under the town plan to provide more onsite car spaces as they do not plan to increase their internal floor area.

But Deputy Mayor Peter Blundell said the decision would be “lineball” and expressed a concern that a demand for additional overflow parking on the street would be a likely result of more patients at the surgery.

Planning department director Ken Harris conceded that could be the case but said it was already a problem due to the popularity of the recently-expanded Condamine Medical Centre, the location of Central SS and the Warwick Community Kindergarten.

Planning committee chair Cr Neil Meiklejohn said the layout of bike lanes in the area was “a problem” and suggested it was time for them to be reviewed, along with a “holistic” look at parking in one of Warwick’s busiest precincts.

The Granite Belt Dental plan was supported by Mayor Ron Bellingham and Crs Vic Pennisi, Mally McMurtrie, Cameron Gow and Denise Ingram, while Crs Blundell, Ross Bartley and Jo McNally voted against it.

A neighbour who lodged an objection wrote that the nearest parking spaces were in Dragon St across the road or below the kindy car park, all of which were needed by kindy and Central SS parents at pick-up and drop-off times.

Another neighbour who objected noted that the dental surgery staff had been “very obliging” in parking their vehicles behind the premises but voiced similar concerns that parking availability in the locale was already at a premium and that residents felt hemmed in at times by on-street overflow parking.

The recommendation to go to tomorrow’s general council meeting, if adopted, will require director of engineering services Peter See to undertake “a review of on street parking in the vicinity of Warwick Central School and in the adjacent areas of Dragon St so as to establish options for increasing parking.”

The Daily News last highlighted concerns over parking in the Dragon-Wood-Guy St zone in June after parents spoke up about their safety fears over a lack of parking and congestion during peak school times.

They said at that time that parking problems around the school had “intensified” over the last decade or more.

One suggestion was to make Myall Av one-way and use more of it for parking.

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