Crystal Palace and Norwood Chamber of Commerce are calling for a boycott of Sainsbury’s store on Westow Street over the introduction of new restrictions which limit free parking in the outside former public car park to just two hours.

Many traders have reported a significant reduction in footfall and takings since Sainsbury’s reduced the parking allowance by an hour, say the Chamber of Commerce.

“One Triangle trader said that with rents soaring and the recent government hike in business rates, the lack of footfall could send his business over the edge.

“Another suggested that shoppers take their custom to supermarkets that are more flexible – for example, Tescos in Thornton Heath which offers three hours.”

The Chamber – which is urging Sainsbury’s to talk to local traders – say: “Our view is that parking is a council issue

“It does seem strange that with German competitors encroaching on their patch – a Lidl is opening soon at Crown Point – Sainsburys should risk eroding public support for what is for them a mere detail but for some local  traders literally food on the table.

“The chamber hope that common sense prevails to avoid a rekindling of the activism that has characterised some of the conflicts centered on the use of community assets  – most recently , the development in the park and the use of the former cinema – with both sides becoming entrenched in opposition.

“Such lack of harmony is the last thing Crystal Palace needs in the light of the possible downsides to Brexit and will be urging Sainsburys to enter into dialogue with local traders.”

The chamber feels it has to be more confrontational towards Croydon  council as they are seen to be negating all town centre development issues in favour of residential developments under their own company Brick by Brick.

“The introduction of a town centre management into the Triangle needs to be pushed higher up the agenda. Including the parking issue” the spokesman added.

Note: Much of the Sainsbury’s site was originally a huge public car park. The site was at one stage the home of the Royal Normal School for the Blind. Bombed out in the Second World War the school moved to Hereford, never to return. (The main house, The Mount, took a direct hit. It stood roughly where the main entrance to Sainsbury’s is.)

Prior to the site being redeveloped in the late 1970’s / early 1980’s much of it was used as a public car park. There was also a ‘bomb site’ car park on the right hand side of St Aubyn’s Road where the Barratts development now stands. Croydon council ignored requests to keep a car park there.

Newspaper cuttings from Upper Norwood library archives show the car park was extended in  1960 / 61 after the demolition of the Grosvenor building, which was part of the school, was demolished. The Grosvenor stood where The Secret Garden now is.

In March 1961 the car park went from free to paid for. On the first day charges were introduced the extension was totally empty and the number of cars which usually stood in the car park when it was free was reduced by half.

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