Car park closure hits traders
A TOWN centre car park will not reopen before Christmas.
The Edinburgh Road multi-storey was closed on October 20 for repairs and was due to reopen on November 7 in time for the peak shopping period.
But the discovery of a crack in the ramp support has caused a major delay and means it will be closed until the new year. Ashford Borough Council, which runs the car park, is unable to give a date when it will reopen.
The closure of the 289-space car park is affecting shoppers, traders and town centre employees. It is also resulting in lost income of £325,771 for Ashford Borough Council, plus a rising bill for repairs.
Shop managers have ques- tioned the council as to why bosses chose to carry out the maintenance in the run up to Christmas.
Council bosses said they had considered leaving the work until the new year, but were concerned about the weather.
They thought a cold snap could mean ice penetrating the cracks, expanding and causing further damage.
On Saturday shoppers using the NCP car park next door to the closed council one sat in lengthy queues to get into and out of the car park.
Town centre traders, already feeling the economic downturn and changing shopping habits, said the car park closure has been another blow for them.
Ashford council spokesman Dean Spurrell said: “Edinburgh Road car park is shut in the interest of public safety and will be reopened as soon as a permanent or temporary solution can be found. We apologise for any inconvenience.
“There was no intention to create disruption over the Christmas period, but other car parks are available to use and many of these have spare capacity including the Civic Centre/ Stour Centre and Dover Place car parks.”
Edinburgh Road car park