FURIOUS Bewdley councillors have hit out at the district council for the “on-going fiasco” of delays to a much-needed expansion of the Load Street car park.

Wyre Forest District Council announced last week that they had appointed new contractors, Worcester-based construction firm Montel Civil Engineering, to create an additional 50 parking spaces on the site of the former medical centre.

Work is due to start this month - with the new car park now expected to open by Easter 2018.

But, angry Bewdley councillors have hit out at the district council for their “lack of planning” after a raft of delays in completing the work.

The Shuttle revealed in June that district council bosses had originally hoped the car park expansion would be completed for the busy summer period, but due to previous delays it was expected to be completed by the end of November.

A spokesman for the district council said the timetable for the works was revised following delays and complications beyond the council’s control.

Bewdley Councillor John Beeson said: “I think it is fair to say that the town’s businesses, residents and I are fed up with this on-going fiasco.

"The loss of parking in the town is a huge problem, we have had broken promise after broken promise from Wyre Forest District Council for over 12 months. I am sure they think the Wyre Forest border ends before you enter Bewdley!

"It has gone past a joke now.

“I have recently submitted a paper to Bewdley Town Council to add acquiring a car park to our corporate plan. I feel we are better placed to provide car parking and this latest delay proves this.

"The sooner Bewdley Town Council takes back control of the town’s resources the better - I have truly lost faith in Wyre Forest District Council’s ability to look after Bewdley’s interests.”

Fellow Bewdley Councillor Philip Edmundson said: “Once again, the district council are paying little attention to the needs of Bewdley, either to businesses or residents. Parking is at a premium and essential in the lead up to Christmas.

“Cllr Vale promised the new Load Street car park would be ready for the busy Christmas period - now it’s Easter.

"Once again, the district council shows a lack of planning and a lack of caring when it comes to supporting Bewdley.”

A spokesman for the district council said: "Once the buildings were demolished it became clear that more extensive works were required to build the lower level than originally anticipated due to ground conditions and problems with an existing retaining wall.

"We were not happy with an estimate for the additional work provided by our original contractor.

"So cabinet decided to retender. That retendering process has only just been completed.

"No work could be carried out until the tendering process was completed and the contract awarded."

Councillor Ian Hardiman, district council cabinet member for planning and economic regeneration, said: “We are pleased to have appointed Montel to complete the final phase of this multi-million pound project which has seen the opening of a new medical centre and library on part of the former public car park at Dog Lane and new parking spaces created on the site those buildings previously occupied.

“This project received resounding public support from Bewdley residents in 2012 when the GPs held a public meeting to discuss the proposals and I am pleased that the council has been able to respond by putting those proposals into place.”

Councillor Rebecca Vale, district council cabinet member for operational services, added: “We promised there would be more parking spaces for Bewdley as part of this project - the new spaces on the lower level at Load Street and the relaying of the existing upper car park will mean that Bewdley will see a net increase in spaces overall when the scheme is completed.

“We realise that the shortage of spaces during the construction of the new medical centre put the town under pressure and I would like to thank the traders, residents and visitors to Bewdley for your continuing support during these works.”

The expansion of the car park is the final phase of a major regeneration of Bewdley town centre including a new medical centre and library facilities, as well as delivering more car parking spaces.

The council has already invested in extensions to Dog Lane and Gardeners Meadow car parks.