Swanley car park charge company makes u-turn on disabled parking

News Shopper: Unhappy residents and shoppers following after parking charges came in last month. Unhappy residents and shoppers following after parking charges came in last month.

THE company behind the unexpected rise in parking charges in Swanley town centre has made a u-turn on disabled parking.

Development Securities brought in tariffs for the car park in Nightingale Way last month – much to the surprise of many shoppers, residents and councillors.

There was anger disabled Blue Badge holders did not have their usual right to three hours free parking respected.

That has now been reversed while the cost of parking for one hour is set to halve from 50p to 25p.

There were concerns the first hour charge would particularly affect patients at the Cedars and Oaks doctors’ surgeries and short-term visitors to the centre. 

The cost of parking all day will rise from £3 to £3.50 but Swanley shopping centre owners Development Securities has pledged to provide passes for employees of its tenants. 

These will cut the cost of parking all day to £2 for those working at shops in the centre. 

Company spokesman Matt Potter said: “We are confident this new schedule of charges is a fair compromise between ourselves, the residents of Swanley and most importantly, the tenants at our shopping centre.

“Our priority remains to ensure the future success of Swanley shopping centre for its tenants and shoppers.”

Development Securities own the shopping centre which is run by managers Cushman and Wakefield.

The car park is run in conjunction with operators County Car Parks.

Development Securities claim the cost of monitoring anti-social behaviour at the centre meant they had to bring in charges at a car park which had long been free.

The revenue is to help pay for newly installed CCTV and other measures, including security guards, aimed at dealing with groups of youths who congregate in the area.  

The cost for parking for up to three hours and up to four hours will remain the same at £2 and £3.

Do you think this is just a gimmick or has Development Securities made a fair response to public concerns? Leave your thoughts below. 

Comments (7)

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2:23pm Thu 5 Dec 13

p.onley@ntlworld.com says...

We will not shop in Swanley if you have to pay for parking, with a Blue Badge you can park for free in Dartford
We will not shop in Swanley if you have to pay for parking, with a Blue Badge you can park for free in Dartford p.onley@ntlworld.com

2:34pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Factman says...

We should all be very pleased at the outcome and the work that Town Clerk Julie Pilbeam put into this as also various tenants and direct representations to the owners by our MP Michael Fallon.

I hope now that certain councillors will stop talking nonsense about the "end of Swanley" - all doom and gloom. Carrying on some sort of crazed vendetta against their own town is very strange behaviour. We do not need people to talk our town down - it is progressive and appealing to many. A lot of good things are happening in Swanley but it only serves to deter new shops from coming here when they read a stream of negative comments from people who they might assume to have some authority.

Proper decent and sensible negotiation by the Council and others has secured a good result. One has to applaud the owners for listening - rare these days.

Their point that commuters were using their space for free parking is very valid and 25P to park for an hour is a very low rate. Most important are the concessions that they have made to Blue Badge holders and the cheaper rate for staff parking.
We should all be very pleased at the outcome and the work that Town Clerk Julie Pilbeam put into this as also various tenants and direct representations to the owners by our MP Michael Fallon. I hope now that certain councillors will stop talking nonsense about the "end of Swanley" - all doom and gloom. Carrying on some sort of crazed vendetta against their own town is very strange behaviour. We do not need people to talk our town down - it is progressive and appealing to many. A lot of good things are happening in Swanley but it only serves to deter new shops from coming here when they read a stream of negative comments from people who they might assume to have some authority. Proper decent and sensible negotiation by the Council and others has secured a good result. One has to applaud the owners for listening - rare these days. Their point that commuters were using their space for free parking is very valid and 25P to park for an hour is a very low rate. Most important are the concessions that they have made to Blue Badge holders and the cheaper rate for staff parking. Factman

2:37pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Ordinary Guy says...

A small victory for common sense. I think that the Town Clerk and the Council have done a good job here.

Good News that Blue Badge Holders may now again park for free (for 3hrs) and further good news that (particularly) patients at The Oaks and Cedars surgeries may park for 25p instead of 50p for the first hour.

Some credit is also due to Development Securities who have made a fair compromise after seeing the reaction of many Swanley Residents.

It is unfortunate that this had to happen at all, but we can thank the yobbos for that.
A small victory for common sense. I think that the Town Clerk and the Council have done a good job here. Good News that Blue Badge Holders may now again park for free (for 3hrs) and further good news that (particularly) patients at The Oaks and Cedars surgeries may park for 25p instead of 50p for the first hour. Some credit is also due to Development Securities who have made a fair compromise after seeing the reaction of many Swanley Residents. It is unfortunate that this had to happen at all, but we can thank the yobbos for that. Ordinary Guy

9:22pm Thu 5 Dec 13

disgruntres says...

I applaud our M.P. and the Councillors for working towards this "u turn" particularly for those who are blue badge holders(, which I might add I am not).
However the sums still do not add up. It is also rather naive for the management company to suggest that the fee was needed to minimise anti -social behavior , any such behaviour is not generated by the normal car using shoppers.I therefore do think this change is a gimmick, as an attempt to placate the ill feeling which was generated.There are stll unanaswered questions regarding the signage etcThese fees wiil still continue to have a detrimental effect on the centre as a whole.The past weeks have been horrendous.Once shoppers cease comingg to the town it is unlikely they will return. The answer would be to in haste totally rescind the original decision to institite the charges.25p is still an insult to those Swanley residents who have enjoyed free parking. The centre car park needs to be free!
I applaud our M.P. and the Councillors for working towards this "u turn" particularly for those who are blue badge holders(, which I might add I am not). However the sums still do not add up. It is also rather naive for the management company to suggest that the fee was needed to minimise anti -social behavior , any such behaviour is not generated by the normal car using shoppers.I therefore do think this change is a gimmick, as an attempt to placate the ill feeling which was generated.There are stll unanaswered questions regarding the signage etcThese fees wiil still continue to have a detrimental effect on the centre as a whole.The past weeks have been horrendous.Once shoppers cease comingg to the town it is unlikely they will return. The answer would be to in haste totally rescind the original decision to institite the charges.25p is still an insult to those Swanley residents who have enjoyed free parking. The centre car park needs to be free! disgruntres

6:23pm Fri 6 Dec 13

rw4732 says...

I think the main point here is that when the land for the shopping centre was sold to Taylor Woodrow who built the shopping centre and car park why did the then planning authority did not make it a condition of planning consent that whoever owned the car parks that they could not bring in car parking charges, no one it seems has gone back to look at who was the planning authrority and who were the Councillors who allowed planning permission to be granted without the condition of free parking ?
I think the main point here is that when the land for the shopping centre was sold to Taylor Woodrow who built the shopping centre and car park why did the then planning authority did not make it a condition of planning consent that whoever owned the car parks that they could not bring in car parking charges, no one it seems has gone back to look at who was the planning authrority and who were the Councillors who allowed planning permission to be granted without the condition of free parking ? rw4732

8:08am Sun 8 Dec 13

cherished says...

We still should not have to pay to visit a doctor! Maybe there should be a patient badge, like a disabled one. RW that will be interesting, possibly same family as those who gained the split with Hextable.
We still should not have to pay to visit a doctor! Maybe there should be a patient badge, like a disabled one. RW that will be interesting, possibly same family as those who gained the split with Hextable. cherished

12:55pm Sun 8 Dec 13

Factman says...

rw4732 wrote:
I think the main point here is that when the land for the shopping centre was sold to Taylor Woodrow who built the shopping centre and car park why did the then planning authority did not make it a condition of planning consent that whoever owned the car parks that they could not bring in car parking charges, no one it seems has gone back to look at who was the planning authrority and who were the Councillors who allowed planning permission to be granted without the condition of free parking ?
So why don't you do that research? You need only to access Sevenoaks District Council minutes for 1981. As you are well aware it is the SDC that transferred the property to Taylor Woodrow. What benefit you might get from that is not clear. It is 22 years ago.
[quote][p][bold]rw4732[/bold] wrote: I think the main point here is that when the land for the shopping centre was sold to Taylor Woodrow who built the shopping centre and car park why did the then planning authority did not make it a condition of planning consent that whoever owned the car parks that they could not bring in car parking charges, no one it seems has gone back to look at who was the planning authrority and who were the Councillors who allowed planning permission to be granted without the condition of free parking ?[/p][/quote]So why don't you do that research? You need only to access Sevenoaks District Council minutes for 1981. As you are well aware it is the SDC that transferred the property to Taylor Woodrow. What benefit you might get from that is not clear. It is 22 years ago. Factman

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