Whiteley shopping centre blamed for parking problems

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NEIGHBOURS of Whiteley’s new £84m shopping centre say it is already causing parking problems.

People living nearby say they have been inundated with workers parking in their roads as they try to avoid paying parking charges at the centre.

The centre has free parking for three hours, and paid parking for up to five hours, but then it is capped.

On Thursday – the day of the centre’s opening – around 48,000 people visited the site and many parked in neighbouring roads.

Vicki Burrows, from Silverbirch Way, said her road was blocked for two days, making it difficult for her to go anywhere with her two young children.

The 30-year-old said: ‘Why should we have to be blocked in just because of them?

‘They’re on both sides of the road, blocking the turning point. It’s inconsiderate.’

Winchester City councillors Vivian Achwal and Sam Newman-McKie spent the opening day monitoring traffic.

The most affected road, Marjoram Way, was coned off on Friday morning due to safety concerns the pair had raised.

Cllr Achwal said: ‘We donned our high-vis jackets and went out on the streets to try and stop an accident. It was a nightmare.

‘We will review the situation in the future. We have had several meetings with the centre management.

‘They were aware of the problem, maybe they should have done a bit more, but then hindsight is a wonderful thing.’

Cllr Achwal said that the council would be working with the centre and the bus companies to create better public transport links once the demand can be reasonably measured.

Fareham leader Cllr Sean Woodward said that some of the roads on the Fareham side of Whiteley, such as Yew Tree Drive, had also suffered on opening day.

He said: ‘It was absolute parking carnage.’

Neil Carter, centre manager, said: ‘The exceptional level of traffic for the opening has put increased pressure on the car parks, which in turn impacted on parking on the surrounding roads. We’re sure this is purely a factor of the launch, and will settle back to acceptable levels once the initial interest has died down.

‘We’re very sorry for any inconvenience and would ask you to bear with us.’