No food costs more at Sainsbury's

The days of free parking at Sainsbury's end this week with the imposition of a £5 charge for anyone who hasn't spent a tenner in the store

The controversy over Sainsbury's car park looks set to reach new heights this week when shoppers discover the level of charges to be imposed. The supermarket giant will be asking anyone who doesn't spend £10 in their store to fork out £5 to park for up to two hours as of this Wednesday.

Sainsbury's argue that the car park is becoming impossible to use for their customers with commuters using it as a free park and ride car park and other shoppers using but not shopping in Sainsbury's. The store has the highest number of shoppers per square foot of any Sainsbury's store in the country and the main complaint from customers is the difficulty in finding a parking space. They claim that even at £5 the operation of the car park will be barely profitable and that the scheme is being imposed to help shoppers rather than make money.

They acknowledge that there could be legitimate reasons for people to use the car park on a very short term basis such as parents at Belmont School. Therefore they are considering a grace period which would allow non-customers to make a shorter stay at the car park without incurring a charge.

The original agreement between Sainsbury's, Clerical Medical and Hounslow Council was made in 1984. The agreement states "the use of the Car Park shall be available for up to a maximum of 2 hours only to all members of the shopping public on similar terms to those subsisting in other Council car parks in shopping centres in the Borough of Hounslow." The £5 charge for two hours is considerably higher than any car park in the borough.

A spokesperson for Hounslow's planning department said, ""the matter is going to be discussed with the Borough Solicitors next week with regard to a potential breach of a Section 106 legal agreement"

February 1, 2003

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