Battle over Eastbourne car park charges continues

A car park in Eastbourne which has recently had a charge imposed continues to raise issues between business owners, residents and the car park owner.
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Beatty Road car park sits in front of a parade of shops and is owned by Mullane Holdings.

Last week it was reported there used to be a free one-hour time slot for drivers, but now charges have been introduced – something residents are not happy about.

The news gained a lot of attention on Facebook.

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Gill Williams said, “They will have an empty car park and the shops will suffer.”

Denise Roberts said the move was ‘one way of killing off trade in the shops’.

Dave Rowland said, “I feel sorry for the shop owners who will lose trade. Residents that live near the shops will get annoyed with people parking outside their houses.”

Since this news was broken, more residents have come forward with contradictory points around the signs on display and the conditions of the car park surface.

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Linda Goodwill said, “Local residents have seen no evidence of the damage they refer to.”

Linda also said the car park was re-surfaced just two years ago so it isn’t in ‘dire need of repair’ as Tony Mullane from Mullane Holdings said in the previous article.

She said, “There are two or three small, but deep potholes, but these would be relatively inexpensive to fill in.”

Kadir Aslan, who owns Beatty Cafe, said the camera is being taken down at the end of each day, signs are up with the new charges, and he’s spoken to a man in a black BMW who is taking down registration plates each day on behalf of the car park owners.

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He said, “One day they just turned up without us knowing, saying they’re putting up signs and cameras.”

When one hour was free, Kadir said business owners ‘had no problem because that’s enough’ for customers, but two weeks later the charges were changed – offering no more free parking time.

Kadir said on top of this, business owners have been asked to pay for a permit to use their loading bays as that land is owned by Mullane Holdings too.

The changes have had an impact on business. Kadir said, “It’s very quiet now, business is going down.”

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Kadir said Mullane Holdings has told him if issues continue, the car park could require permits to use, something he said would ‘kill the businesses’ because people won’t do it.

Mr Mullane said that whilst he agrees the car park was resurfaced recently, it has ‘multiple ongoing issues’.

He said, “The front and rear car park have multiple ongoing drainage issues, as well as when the resurfacing was done it was relayed over a poor base meaning there will be significant costs to remove the layered tarmac and relay a sound base. In essence, it requires a restart from scratch.”

Mr Mullane said there is currently no camera on site, and instead the site is patrolled.

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He confirmed the signs are removed at the end of the day and brought back every morning by the man in the BMW who is ‘paid to issue tickets’.

In response to the issue of changing charges, he said, “Unfortunately, we had offered an hour free hoping this would suit the majority if not all of the businesses, we contacted them before enforcement started and signs at the rear of the shops had been removed, the free one hour signs were then also removed, to cover costs we decided we had no choice but to remove the free hour. Again the person/people who did that really are to blame.”

Surrounding the questions of permits for business owners, Mr Mullane said, “As far as I’m aware we never asked for that, we asked if the businesses wanted to park at the rear they could but were offered parking at a significantly reduced rate to make sure there would be adequate parking for the residents above.

“However, there also are no loading bays, the area to the rear is in essence a private road with garages and so no one without permission should ever park there to load unload or drop off.”

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Mr Mullane said ‘we are currently looking at’ the future of the car park.

He said, “As recently as yesterday, payment signs were damaged, this really doesn’t affect us if whoever is doing this wants those signs removed I will happily take them down and make it a permit holders only car park, this isn’t our preferred system.”

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