Staff parking at new Whiteley Shopping Centre sparks row

PARKING FEARS The soon-to-open shopping complex in Whiteley. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (138-3)
PARKING FEARS The soon-to-open shopping complex in Whiteley. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (138-3)
Cllr Rob Hylands at the bus stop  Picture: Habibur Rahman

Gosport bus stop is ‘a fatality in the making’

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ANGRY residents have raised concerns about thousands of shop staff parking in their roads when a new shopping centre opens.

Whiteley Shopping Centre is due to open on May 23 and will provide 1,136 car parking spaces.

But these spaces will have a three-hour time limit, which prompted some stores to issue maps of nearby residential areas to staff so they can park in those roads instead of at the centre.

And worried locals fear that an already-congested Whiteley will soon have the extra pressure of more than 2,000 shop staff regularly parking in their roads.

Despite reassurances from the centre’s management, people living close by remain unconvinced.

Phillip Slonecki, 46, from Coriander Way, said: ‘Our road is quite narrow as it is and it would be made worse if more cars parked there.

‘Parents who have children in our local school park in our road when picking up their children, so if staff park there too, there would not be any room for the parents.’

Daniel Dempster, 22, from Portsmouth, said: ‘I work in Whiteley and sometimes our car park gets full and we have to park in the nearby roads. There is very little space to park in the roads as it is.’

Arlene Anderson, 33, from Suffolk Drive said: ‘I live a 20-minute walk from the shopping centre. It would be rather annoying if the staff parked in our road.

‘Our road is bad for parking as it is.’

In a statement, the shopping centre management said: ‘We appreciate this is something that local residents are concerned about.

‘All retailers have been told their staff cannot park on residential roads. There will be dedicated parking spaces for people who work at Whiteley and this staff allocation will be flexible to cover busier periods.

‘Once the shopping centre opens, we’ll be monitoring the parking situation and the effect on the local area very closely.

‘We also have a travel co-ordinator in place who will be dedicated to looking at any issues and working closely with local residents.’

The shopping centre told The News that it will be working with all 56 confirmed stores to establish how many staff permits are needed for the car park.

Whiteley county councillor Sean Woodward said: ‘The shops are a brilliant thing but the sheer scale of it is worrying.

‘I feel for the residents who will be affected and if they build a cinema there will be even less space.’