A MOTHER and her two-year-old child were stranded in a Bexleyheath car park for three hours as major roadworks caused traffic chaos.
Nicola Hackett planned to nip into The Mall in Albion Road on Saturday to buy a present for her friend’s newborn baby.
But she and her son Thomas returned to the top floor of the multi-storey car park at around 12.30pm to a sea of cars.
The 36-year-old insurance company project manager could not believe her eyes.
She told News Shopper: “We didn’t move for two hours, we were so far at the back, people were coming out of the mall and cutting in front of us; it was awful.
“I was ready to punch this woman who pushed in front of me.
“When you work full-time, weekends are so precious. And when something like that happens and there’s no end in sight, you think ‘what’s going on?’”
The delay was due to major roadworks in Bexleyheath town centre, which involved temporary traffic lights and a one-way system between Albion Road and Broadway.
Mrs Hackett, of Orchard Close, Bexleyheath, added: “People were out of their cars, ringing police. People were going crazy.
“They were going out of the car park into even more traffic.
“One or two cars were getting out onto the main road every couple of minutes.
“They should have shut the car park.”
During the chaos, she called Bexley Council, Transport for London and the Met Police but nobody could help.
She said: “I could not believe the lack offorward thinking and the fact nobody wanted to take ownership.
“The stewards were helping and doing everything they could but nobody managed the situation.”
When she finally reached the exit, two-and-a-half hours later, her ticket had expired.
She had to push the emergency help button before queuing for another 30 minutes to get out onto the main road.
The experience has put her off Bexleyheath.
“I won’t go back there,” she said. “I’ll go to Welling or Bluewater, that’s how most people are feeling in the area.
“It’s not worth it. The death of the high street? I’d vote for it.”
The major roadworks are part of the Bexleyheath town centre revitalisation scheme which started in January and could last up to five months.
The project involves a new roundabout in Albion Road, new shared space areas at Trinity Place and Christ Church on the Broadway, and an improved crossing at the corner of the Broadway to the pedestrianised area near Asda.
A Bexley Council spokesman said: “Although the planned traffic diversion took effect on January 14, no serious problem emerged until last Saturday.
“Our initial assessments indicate use of the shopping centre increased considerably on that day as it was the first Saturday enjoying better weather after the recent snowfall.
“However, more investigations into all aspects of the issue are required.”