This post was first published by My London on 8/10/2019.
Parking at the Colonnades in Croydon is changing yet again
Automatic number plate recognition cameras will catch drivers who stay over the time limits
We’ve all been there. You pull into the Colonnades and do two unsuccessful laps of the lower car park, then try to find a space up by Pizza Hut and Costa only to end up queueing for a space to become free.
And if your luck is really out, a driver will go the wrong way round and steal the space you had patiently waited for.
Extra parking spaces have been created since Croydon Council took over control of the retail and leisure park off Purley Way, but many drivers have been left scratching their heads by the decision to set up a 30-minute parking zone.
Getting in and out of the gym within half an hour really would be a speedy workout.
The council says the short-stay zone was a trial and is coming to an end.
Instead there will be an area where you can only park for up to one hour, with the remaining spaces continuing to have the four hour limit regular visitors will be used to.
And the time limit will be enforced.
A spokesman for Croydon Council said: “To improve the availability of short-stay spaces for customers we trialled a number of 30-minute parking spaces.
“As a result of the trial, 16 clearly marked spaces will be limited to one hour parking.
“The remaining spaces will have a four-hour limit. Automatic number plate recognition will be installed to ensure spaces are used correctly.
“At present a small number of spaces are unavailable in front of the final new unit as fit out works for a new KFC take place.”
The Colonnades will soon be full up, when KFC opens in the final space next to Nando’s and McDonald’s.
The colonel is opening his seventh branch in the borough and will also join Pizza Hut and Costa as places to head to grab something to eat at the retail and leisure park off Purley Way.
The council shelled out £7 million to buy the three new units filled with McDonald’s, Nando’s and soon to be KFC.
A council spokesman confirmed the news when warning visitors that some parking spaces have been temporarily cordoned off.
“At present a small number of spaces are unavailable in front of the final new unit as fit out works for a new KFC take place,” he said.
The opening date for the new KFC has not been announced, but when it does there will be plenty of choice nearby as there is an existing branch on Purley High Street.
The council paid £53 million to buy the whole of the Colonnades.
The purchase was split into two. The frst part involved nine units in November 2018 – including the Costa Coffee drive-thru, Pizza Hut and Premier Inn hotel.
The council then bought the three newer units at the far end of the Colonnades in August.
Regular visitors will also notice new car park signs have gone up in recent months, warning of how long you can stay for in different areas.
The retail and leisure park is expected to make the council about £1.4 million a year in interest and other costs, generating more than £150,000 a year to be spent on frontline services.
When the final three units were bought Councillor Simon Hall, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “There are three positives to this purchase – additional funding for frontline services, the creation of additional jobs for our residents and investment by us in our borough.
“We are working to identify ways this site can generate even more income, as well as looking for other investment opportunities as a way of ensuring we can provide services for our residents at a time where government grant funding for local authorities is being cut and its future remains uncertain.”
The announcement in November 2018 came two months after the council bought the Croydon Park Hotel, on Altyre Road, for a cool £31.4m – which is expected to bring in £1 million a year.