Store owner anger over parking scheme
PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 October 2011
A BUSINESS owner in Cheddar says his independent store is at a disadvantage because his customers have to pay to use his car park.
Sedgemoor District Council own the car park outside Budgens in Roynon way.
It refused a ‘significant’ six-figure sum to sell the car park to Budgens earlier this year because the council relies on parking revenue to survive.
Budgens refunds money paid into the meter by customers who spend over £5 in the store.
But owner Phil Tout says the inconvenience customers face having to keep coins in their pockets to use the store puts him at a disadvantage compared to the Tesco Express on Station Road, which offers free parking.
Now that Tesco is looking to build a larger store at Cheddar AFC’s Bowdens Park ground, he says the situation will be made worse.
The council currently make around £26,000 per year from customers using the car park.
He said: “It gives an unfair advantage to big stores. Tesco has a free car park but our customers have to pay, so we lose out.”
Tim Mander, property manager at the council, said: “Budgens made us an offer, but it was far below what we would need to sell the site.
“As times are hard for councils we need parking revenue to survive.”
He said the council would be open to the idea of leasing the site to the store instead, but said it would be up to Budgens to come up with a feasible alternative to the current scheme.