Fareham traders upset that car park will be closed

From left, Tony Hansford, Claire Jones, Diane King and Sharon Hepworth. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (143455-4)
From left, Tony Hansford, Claire Jones, Diane King and Sharon Hepworth. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (143455-4)
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TRADERS have told of their disappointment at a council decision to sell off a car park to a discount supermarket.

Fareham Borough Council signed off plans to close the Gillies car park in West Street, so that it can sell it to a neighbouring Aldi store.

The sale of the car park provoked an angry response from traders along West Street.

Mark Eames, of TaxSense Accountants, said: ‘The issue is that it has been done in a way that cannot be described as transparent.

‘The council is losing the opportunity to protect an asset.

‘The council needs all the cash it can get, but they need to be honest with us and tell us what they are doing.’

Other businesses also raised objections to the sale of the long-stay car park, saying that its loss could impact on their business.

Louise Robinson, who runs Envy Hair Company, said that the 90 minutes Aldi gives customers was not enough time for her clients to visit.

She said: ‘The council never listened to a word we were saying. They were enticed by a nice big pay cheque.

‘I just hope that Aldi will be prepared to work with us smaller traders to come up with a compromise.’

Diane King, manager of Browns Coffee House, also said 90 minutes was not long enough for people to do their shopping and enjoy lunch in her cafe.

But council leader Sean Woodward said the sale was in the best interests of residents as the cash, as yet undisclosed but believed to be hundreds of thousands of pounds, will go into the council’s coffers to enable it to provide other services.

As the car park is next to land already owned by Aldi, the council did not need to put the sale out to open sale.

Cllr Woodward said that the car park, which had about 30 spaces, would now be improved as Aldi would reconfigure the site.

He said: ‘It was a little-used car park. It was costing more to maintain it than it was bringing in, plus there are a number of other long-stay car parks within walking distance.’

The council agreed the car park closure last week, after agreeing to pursue the sale last year.