Row erupts over Aldi parking plan

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A ROW has broken out over parking after a supermarket made plans to penalise drivers who take shopper’s spaces.

Drivers who regularly use the Aldi car park in High Street, Brandon, have found themselves looking elsewhere after the German food giant put up signs restricting drivers to one and a half hours of free parking or risk being fined.

Forest Heath District Council, which sold the land to Aldi for £3.25 million in 2006, says the car park should be open to the public but a covenant made at the time of the sale means that shoppers can only park for a maximum of two hours.

Aldi’s proposals fall within Forest Heath’s limits.

Tony Simmons, Forest Heath district and Brandon town councillor, said scores of residents had complained to him about the changes.

“A lot of people have been put out by this because they park there for work.

“Aldi were given the site on the understanding that there would be a public car park with two hours for free as it would serve the High Street.

“This has not done Aldi any good from a reputation point of view,” he said.

Eddie Stewart, Forest Heath councillor for Brandon, said the changes pointed to a bleak future for parking in the town.

“In five or 10 years we will have a very serious parking problem here,” he said.

“If the town’s growing there’s going to be a crunch time where people won’t be able to park easily.

“This situation just makes the Market Hill parking issue all the more important.”

Aldi said it intended to enforce the parking changes in September.

A spokesman said: “The parking controls have not yet been implemented.

“We are updating our parking signage, which states that local shoppers are entitled to two hours of free car parking. This will help to prevent misuse of the car park and ensure that parking spaces are available for town centre shoppers.”