TRADERS are upset about the sale of a long-stay council car park which they say could lead to a drop in customers.
The shops, along West Street, Fareham, have started a petition calling on Fareham Borough Council to rethink its decision to sell off the Gillies car park to a neighbouring supermarket.
Council leader Sean Woodward said the sale to Aldi would be of benefit to the residents of Fareham as it would bring in much-needed cash.
But Louise Robinson, who runs Envy Hair Company, is not happy about the decision, which she says could have an impact on her business.
Ms Robinson said: ‘It is going to have a devastating effect. It’s just been snuck through. That’s why we are trying to get a petition together against it.’
The Gillies car park, which is next to Aldi’s car park, off West Street, was found to be the least-used council-owned car park in Fareham in council figures.
Ms Robinson said: ‘It is only under used because nobody knows that it is there. It is not well-lit and it is not well signposted. The council has not done enough to promote it and make it a success.
‘But all our clients do use it, so do many people who want to stay for a long time, like people who use the coffee shop and do some shopping.’
Diane King, manager of Browns Coffee House, said: ‘All the businesses should have been given notice. It has been very hush-hush.’
The council agreed to sell the car park to Aldi at the last executive meeting after it was approached by the company.
Cllr Woodward said that as the car park adjoins Aldi’s property, legally the council is within its rights to sell the land without putting it out to tender, as long as it is offered a fair price.
Aldi plans to extend its car park, which offers a free 90 minute stay, managed by Parking Eye.
Cllr Woodward said: ‘There are other long-stay council car parks nearby in Osborn Road West, Malthouse Lane and in Trinity Street,
‘The Gillies is a small, little-used car park, the sale of which has raised some much-needed money for the council.
‘And it is will now be free, surely that is a good deal for residents?’
He also added that nearby Fareham train station has a 154-space long-stay car park.
The price Aldi paid will be made public once the sale is complete.
For more information on the objection go to West Street West Fareham on Facebook.