ABINGDON’S multi-storey car park could be demolished as part of a major revamp of The Charter area in the town centre.

The 443-space car park off Stert Street would be replaced by a 700-space car park serving a new supermarket, a council chief said.

The Malthouse Surgery and Abingdon Library would have to move to the first floor of The Charter, leading to concerns about patient access.

Vale of White Horse District Council leaders said plans to a redevelop the former Woolworths store, now occupied by Poundland, and a new hotel are still on the table. No supermarket has been named.

They said the new car park would accommodate spaces lost from the multi-storey. Work could start in 2014.

Matt Prosser, the council’s strategic director, said: “This scheme involves the reprovision of the library and the surgery, and creating a larger retail unit for a superstore.

“We would also like to replace the multi-storey with new parking facilities which are much more user-friendly and will suit modern car requirements better.

“I think the changes would improve this part of Abingdon. We want to have a good range of retail units in the centre so that shoppers don’t keep disappearing off to Oxford and other shopping centres.

“We want to safeguard Abingdon town centre.”

Peter Wiblin, joint president of Abingdon Chamber of Commerce, said: “The multi-storey car park is not particularly user-friendly because some drivers don’t know you get in via Stert Street.

“The multi-storey is not designed well enough to maximise the space.”

But patient Bobbie Nichols, 68, of Mattock Way, Abingdon, said she was opposed to the surgery’s relocation.

Mrs Nichols, a part-time copy editor at Oxford University Press, said: “The elderly and infirm, people who use wheelchairs, and mothers with small children will not want to have to climb stairs or use a lift.”

The practice was refurbished last year so all patient consultation rooms are on the ground floor.

Practice manager Peter Abery said: “There are 20,000 patients at this surgery and we will be putting up notices to alert them to the plans and to remind them who their local councillors are.”

The move comes after the council announced that Bury Street precinct will get a £3m revamp this year. This will include new shop fronts, some larger units and canopies.

The council will decide whether to lease The Charter to Scottish Widows Investment Partnership for 250 years to enable the redevelopment.

Scottish Widows has the current lease.

Council leader Tony de Vere said: “This proposal is potentially one of the biggest developments in Abingdon’s history and could reshape an important area of the town.”

A spokesman for SWIP, said the firm was working closely with the district council on the plans.