New car parking charges at a popular Aylesbury shopping spot have sparked anger and threats to boycott the area.
People parking at Bedgrove’s Jansel Square will now have to pay one pound per hour to stay there, although the first two hours will be free. People wishing to park for more than two hours will have to call a special number.
The company that runs the site said the fees had been introduced to stop the ‘increasing misuse’ of the free parking.
But one angry resident said it was ‘appalling and very sneaky’ how the charges had appeared, claiming the move at the privately-owned site would ‘scare away the shoppers’.
However, with two hours free parking, not all were so concerned. Gary Jones, manager of Aylesbury Flooring in the square, said: “I don’t think it will be a big issue for us. People don’t come in to our shop for more than a couple of hours.”
Mr Jones said other businesses where people stay for longer, such as the Tramps salon, might be harder hit, but the management there could not be reached for comment.
People who live in flats above the shops and staff who work in the shops leased from the management company can no longer park there. To compensate, the management company have turned the car park behind the Cambourne Centre into permit parking for these people.
Jansel Square Management said in a statement: “The car park would often become full of cars from non-shopping traffic preventing legitimate customers from being able to visit the shops and causing them to leave and shop elsewhere. For example, for quite some time coaches have been arranging to pick up day trippers from the layby in Cambourne Avenue after their customers have parked their cars at Jansel Square. The day trippers vehicles would then remain parked until the coaches returned later in the day.”
Some people took to Twitter to vent their anger at the changes. But many saw sense in the move with one, Paul Milham, saying: “It could be a good thing as it’ll stop the coach party brigade parking all day and free up spaces.”
Bedgrove Councillor Mark Winn said he would be monitoring the situation closely.
He said: “Our worry is that people may choose to park on local roads instead, we already have a big issue with school parking on local roads.
“I hope the changes to parking don’t damage Jansel Square or cause too many problems with parking in the local area, but that they are a signal of the intent from the Jansel Square management company that they will make the necessary improvements to Jansel Square in order to preserve it as a thriving shopping centre located in the heart of Bedgrove.”