Crowthorne Lidl applies to reduce car park hours to stop free parking problemsBy Jennie Slevin
March 06, 2013
A supermarket which has had enough of shoppers taking advantage of its free parking spaces has applied to reduce how long drivers can stay.
The popular Lidl store in Crowthorne has a two-hour maximum stay cap in its car park, however it has now applied to Bracknell Forest Council to change its planning permission to reduce the maximum stay to 90 minutes.
Supermarket bosses believe the car park in High Street, which can hold 51 vehicles, is being misused by a number of shoppers who park their cars and the go to shop elsewhere.
Georgina O’Donnell from Lidl said: “The car park at our Crowthorne store has been offering free parking for two hours, an advantage which has historically left the car park open to overcrowding.
“It is important that our customers are given priority and, unfortunately, we have received customer feedback that they have been unable to park in our car park.
“To tackle this, we have submitted this application to amend the parking time to 90 minutes.”
Last year the store withdrew its application to change the maximum stay as planning officers felt there was not enough evidence, but a survey has now been carried out at the store using cameras to determine exactly how many shoppers are taking advantage of the free parking and how many are shopping at Lidl.
So far four objection letters have been sent to the council.
One objector wrote: “Parking is an issue in the village at times and the car park was intended for use for all the businesses and amenities in the village.
“It should remain as current to ensure the high street as a whole thrives.”
Georgina added: “There is another car park nearby at the Co-op, which offers 90 minutes parking, and there are two council car parks on the periphery of the village centre, so still within very easy walking distance.”
The supermarket chain hopes that by lowering the maximum stay, shoppers will be put off leaving their cars at Lidl if they are not shopping there.
Bracknell Forest council’s planning committee is due to make a decision on the application by April 13.