Stevenage businesses claim victory as football fans given the boot
- Credit: Archant
BUSINESSES at a retail park are claiming victory after football fans were given the boot.
Stevenage FC played their first home game on Saturday since parking restrictions at the nearby Roaring Meg Retail Park were introduced last month.
Visitors to the Roaring Meg are now limited to a 90-minute stay on match days under the restrictions, brought in to stop football supporters using the car park in Monkswood Way.
Those who stay longer can be landed with a £100 fine.
The Comet spoke to retailers after Saturday’s match – when available parking was further inhibited by the visiting circus in Fairlands Valley Showground – to gauge the impact of the restrictions, which also sees parking limited to three hours when Stevenage aren’t playing.
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“We’ve been asking for this for months and months,” said Brian Cannon, who is manager of furniture store SCS.
“In the past it has been so full our customers couldn’t get in the car park. On Saturday it wasn’t as full but it was busy with customers rather than supporters.”
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Chris Levene, manager at Sharps Bedrooms, said: “Before, the car park was always full on Saturdays but you would look outside and think ‘where are all the people?’ Now it’s busy with customers. For us, I think 90 minutes is long enough to shop and customers haven’t said anything different.”
Craig Potts, assistant manager at Wren Kitchens and Bedrooms, did raise concerns about the time limit.
He said: “It’s early days but it will certainly affect us for sure. Designing a kitchen can take anything from an hour to up to six hours. We haven’t had any customers with problems yet but we will be discussing it with the owners to get some answers.”
TruGym general manager Aaron Goodison-Powell said staff and customers had also raised concerns about the restrictions, resulting in the company introducing a computer system where visitors put in their car registration number plate to avoid a fine.
“Customers had real concerns about getting fined but we have been able to alleviate those fears,” he said.
Chloe Norton, shift manager at Pizza Hut, said: “It’s definitely made a positive difference. The car park is less busy so lots of people have been coming. The situation before was awful. Staff often couldn’t get a space.”
As for the 90-minute limit, she added: “We do have people in here for longer than that but as long as they have a proof of receipt they should be okay.”
A spokesman for Roaring Meg Retail Park was unable to confirm whether customers with proof of receipt who went over the time limit would be able to appeal a fine.
Did you have trouble finding a space to park for Saturday’s game or have you had problems with fans parking outside your house? If so, email email@example.com