Sainsbury's think again on £5 parking charge

Store group in discussion with Council over level of tariff level

Sainsbury's have reconsidered a plan to charge £5 to park for up to two hours in the store car park.

They are now discussing the tariffs to be imposed with London Borough of Hounslow with a view to enforcing new charges in the near future.

The original scheme would possibly have been in breach of the covenant which placed conditions on the use of the car park. A spokesperson for Hounslow Council said of the plan, "the matter is going to be discussed with the Borough Solicitors with regard to a potential breach of a Section 106 legal agreement."

The agreement between Sainsbury's, Clerical Medical and Hounslow Council was made in 1984. It 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." A £5 charge for two hours would have been considerably higher than any car park in the borough.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury's said, "Sainsbury’s is currently working with the Council to agree tariffs, which will take customer short-term parking needs into consideration."

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 it 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 over parking. It is hoped that the new system will discourage out-of-town commuters. Research shows that abuse by commuters means the car park reaches 50% capacity by 9:00 am, and 99% capacity by 11:00 am.

Paul Baterip, Store Manager of Chiswick Sainsbury’s commented: “It’s a primary issue for us that Chiswick shoppers can park with ease. It’s crucial to our service – in fact, it’s why we have a car park in the first place. Unfortunately, many commuters take advantage of our parking system because it is next to the Chiswick Park tube station. The result is that customers who shop at our store and on the high street cannot find a place to park. We’re concerned that if we don’t put these necessary measures into place, Chiswick shops will suffer.”

February 5, 2003

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