Tesco car park charge row

Freshwater Square SUS-140625-180220001
Freshwater Square SUS-140625-180220001

A Tesco Express in Eastbourne says there are no plans to charge customers to use a car park.

There was uproar when detailed plans appeared on Wealden District Council’s planning website showing yellow signs warning customers they would be charged £70 if they stayed more than 20 minutes in the car park at Freshwater Square in Willingdon.

But the superstore giant admitted this week there was never any intention to charge customers and the plans had been submitted by mistake.

A Tesco spokesperson told the Herald, “We’re making some changes to our store to improve it and as part of this, submitted applications for various minor works. At the time of submitting these, a mistake was made and as soon as we realised what had happened, we withdrew it. We’re sorry for any confusion this may have caused and would like to reassure everyone that we are not making any changes to parking arrangements.”

One of the signs warned, “You have told us that you can’t always find a parking space when shopping at our store. To make spaces available, the following conditions apply: Car Parking Limited to 20 minutes. If your vehicle remains in this car park for more than 20 minutes you agree to pay a £70 Parking Charge”.

Local residents and neighbouring businesses were furious at the plans and a petition was started by the chemist adjacent to Tesco.

They feared the parking restrictions would destroy the business in the square including restaurants, café and pub which need customers to stay longer than 20 minutes.

Rupa Patel at the Day Lewis Pharmacy said, “Many of our customers are elderly and drive to the square to visit our pharmacy. Often our patients are in the store for longer than 20 minutes as we offer a variety of services such as medicine use reviews. Our business would be severely affected by the proposed limit on the parking and so would the surrounding community stores.”

A spokesperson at Wealden District Council said, “Amended plans have been received from the applicant and the proposed signs pertaining to the car park usage have been omitted from the plans.”