Council in talks about enforcing double yellow lines on roads near Rushden Lakes to mitigate staff parking
Northamptonshire County Council could impose new parking restrictions in four roads in Rushden to ease the impact of parking by staff and visitors around the new shopping complex.
The first phase of Rushden Lakes, the major retail and leisure development just off the A45 at Rushden, has started to unveil the first of their stores, but workers have contested that there is not enough staff parking on the £140 million site, claiming they will be slapped with a fine if they work longer than a five-hour shift.
One worker, who has requested anonymity, has told the Chronicle & Echo that she might have to consider quitting her job, as there is no guarantee she is able to park upon arrival.
A spokeswoman for The Crown Estate said there are currently 130 dedicated staff spaces in the service area - however - it's understood that the M&S site employs 130 staff members alone.
The Rushden Lakes employee said: "Service bays are allocated to all the companies in the retail park and I think it's up to each company how they allocate the bays, so they are not necessarily for managers, but they get them and shop-floor staff don't.
"If the council puts these parking restrictions in place, I will have to find residential areas to park in, which won't be easy, or I will approach local businesses to see if they will rent out space.
"Failing that, I may have to see if I can only do four-hour shifts, or leave."
But Northamptonshire Highways - in talks with East Northamptonshire District Council - is proposing to enforce double yellow lines on Northampton Road (up to Shelley Drive), Cole Street, Crown Way and the Development Access (off Skew Bridge roundabout).
A Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: “We have been in discussions with East Northamptonshire District Council about introducing no waiting at any time restrictions in some roads around Rushden Lakes to mitigate the potential impact of parking by staff and visitors to the new development. These restrictions would also ensure safe access to the site.
“We have written to local residents and businesses and have consulted on the proposals. We are currently reviewing all correspondence received and expect to make a decision on the parking proposals in the coming weeks.”
One man, who lives in Northampton and wants to remain anonymous, said his wife has applied for a job at House of Fraser but is now thinking against the move due to travel complications.
He said: "A lot of people have been told there will be a park and ride but it's a load of old nonsense.
"I have been over there, it's beautiful, but the reality is where are staff going to park?
"It's 22 minutes from my house to Rushden Lakes, but over an hour on the bus - the most important thing for any job is where you park your car."
A spokesperson for The Crown Estate said: “People across Northamptonshire have waited a long time for Rushden Lakes and everyone wants the centre to be a success. To ensure the centre can thrive it is important that shoppers have access to adequate car parking when they visit Rushden Lakes, and that is why we currently have a five-hour limit to the free customer parking. Our retailers are supportive of this approach and want to ensure that their customers can park at the centre.
"Our centre management team have been working with all our retailers, at store and head office level, to develop travel plans for their staff which make use of all available travel options. Retailers are encouraging their staff to consider using the bus services, which run from early in the morning into the evening, and operate seven days a week, as well as walking from Rushden town centre using the new footbridge, or cycling.
"For those staff members who can only drive to work, there is staff car parking in the service areas of Rushden Lakes. Retailers have been allocated spaces for their stores and they are managing the use of these spaces by their employees.”