'˜Dumped' cars spark plans for 3,000 extra parking spaces at Gatwick

Plans to build 3,000 extra parking spaces near Gatwick have been put forward following the discovery of more than 1,000 holidaymakers' cars left in a boggy field.

Holidaymakers' cars dumped in a field near Gatwick Airport SUS-160507-150924001
Holidaymakers' cars dumped in a field near Gatwick Airport SUS-160507-150924001

Airport parking firm Airparks has come up with the proposal to cope with what it says is a chronic shortage of parking spaces at Gatwick.

The firm says that the police discovery of the 1,000 cars left in the muddy field by a rogue parking company was ‘not an isolated incident’ and is a result of a shortage of spaces to meet Gatwick’s growing number of customers.

It says although it wants to build 3,000 new spaces on land near Lowfield Heath Service Station in London Road, it is facing problems because of the area’s Local Plan and Gatwick’s airport car parking strategy.

Airparks chief executive Howard Dove said: “To cater for Gatwick’s unprecedented growth in passenger numbers, at least 6,000 new parking spaces are needed – now. Unauthorised parking has increased significantly, yet there are no plans in the pipeline to create more spaces, despite the fast-rate of increasing customers at the airport.

“We have made the case for new spaces to address this chronic shortage holidaymakers are facing. However, little or no additional space has been added meaning that airport visitors are forced to park in unauthorised spaces to the detriment of their purse and vehicle, whilst ‘dumped’ cars around the airport plague residents of local towns.

“This does not need to continue, we have already proposed to build an additional 3,000 spaces close to the airport which will go some way to alleviate the pressure.

“We are hoping that officials at Crawley Council will take the logical view, and agree with our position that more spaces are a necessity, not a luxury and approve our application for a new well run parking site to serve Gatwick Airport.”

When Sussex Police discovered the 1,000 vehicles left unattended near the airport on Wednesday June 22 they found hundreds of keys to the vehicles in the boot of a car which was left open and unlocked, while several others were covered in mud.

In addition, some keys were left in envelopes on the windscreens of the cars they belonged to, in full view of anyone passing by.

Police are currently looking into reports of theft, criminal damage and excess mileage on vehicles left with the unnamed firms within the past few months.