The parking situation in Coulsdon has been terrible in the past few months. The Lion Green Road car park was closed in July (losing 200 spaces) with no adequate substitute put in place at that time. This was a terrible failure by the Labour-run council. I have received hundreds of emails from concerned residents who have found the town centre impossible to park in. Many said they had opted to shop in other town centres in the area. I experience these problems myself very regularly as well.
Recently there have been several developments on the issue.
After months of pressure from local councillors and me, the car park at the CALAT centre has finally now been opened to the public to help ease the parking difficulties. It operates a Pay and Display Monday to Friday from 7am to 6pm. It has 32 spaces including 2 disabled parking bays. The opening of this car park took far too long and the council should have opened it to coincide with the closure of Lion Green Road, thus avoiding the parking pandemonium which ensued. But at least it is now open.
I am also proposing to the council that they install herringbone parking in Coulsdon town centre. This would much better utilise the space provided for on street parking. This is a proposal supported by local residents and Residents Associations. If they are sited in the correct way, drivers would be able to reverse in which would mitigate the danger of backing out on to a busy road.
As you may know, the site at Cane Hill is currently being developed in to housing. The developer, Barratts are fully aware of the difficulty of parking in and around Coulsdon. In order to combat the problems, Barratts are looking at providing at least 20-30 temporary car parking spaces near Marlpit Lane roundabout for the next two years. I am encouraging both Barratts and the council to implement this as soon as possible.
Finally, planning officers recently recommended for approval a planning application submitted by Aldi in Coulsdon which would have meant the car park would be for Aldi customer use only, and not for the general public using Coulsdon town centre. I formally objected to this change and wrote to the Chief Executive of Aldi to ask that they withdraw the application entirely (copy of the letter below). I saw this application to be an act of bad faith, as the use of the car park for the public was one of the original conditions for planning permission being granted. I was thrilled to see Aldi withdrew the application following my letter.
I will continue to press the council to fix the terrible parking problems in Coulsdon.
COPY OF LETTER TO ALDI CEO
Mr Matthew Barnes
Warwickshire CV9 2SQ
17th November 2015
Dear Mr Barnes,
Re: Croydon Council Planning application – 15/03999/P
Aldi Stores LTD (Former Red Lion Public House) 159 Brighton Road, Coulsdon, CR5 2NH
I write with regard to the above planning application to restrict the use of Aldi car park to 90 minutes and for Aldi customers only. The original planning permission from 2014 allowed public use of the car park.
You will probably not be aware of the current very serious issues regarding parking in Coulsdon. Following the closure of the main public car park for redevelopment earlier this year, there has been the most extraordinary pressure on parking places for shoppers and visitors to Coulsdon Town Centre and if your application is successful it will only add further to the current chaotic situation.
For Aldi to deliberately add to this parking chaos is of great concern to me and I am sure that all 8000 of the constituents who receive my e-newsletters would be very disappointed indeed to hear of this.
Therefore, whilst I am aware that Aldi is perfectly entitled to seek a review of the planning condition granted in good faith back in 2014, I would urge you to consider whether this really is the best time to be doing this. I am asking you today to withdraw the current application until Coulsdon’s parking problems have eased and since the Planning Committee meets on 26th November, to consider the application, there is some urgency to the matter.
I am sure that, like me, you would like your customers to have an easy trip to your store and not be completely put off by nose-to- tail traffic congestion as they approach Coulsdon and I would be most grateful for your due consideration to my representations. It would certainly be good if I could publicly support Aldi for withdrawing the application, rather than having to criticise Aldi for disregarding the local community.
Chris Philp MP
PS in view of the very tight timescale, please may I have a response by this Friday, 20th Nov