Published: 01:00, 15 May 2016
Fears by businesses on a small trading estate that they could go bust if customers were barred from using its car park were lifted this week.
It is now “business as usual” for traders in Maplehurst Close, Dartford, after they received an apology over confusion generated by the company managing the site.
Initially, traders were led to believe all 40-odd parking bays would soon be for use by resident permit holders only – in one stroke wiping out half the number of bays provided free for shoppers.
They got together to start a protest but now management company Firstpoint has sent them an email saying “please accept apologies for any confusion” caused by its letter sent to them.
It said: “The proposed parking enforcement will not affect the parking by retail units.
“The reason (for the proposal) is to try and alleviate parking issues caused by non-residents using the residential areas for long term parking.”
Sunny Chandarana, 34, who owns the McQueen pharmacy at Business Unit 3, said: “The clarification has come as a huge relief.
“Earlier we had received a letter from Firstpoint’s customer services department, saying the opposite.
“Parking for shop customers has never been a problem here.
“There are always some free bays available throughout the day.
“If they were taken away it would have had a terrible impact on elderly patients and on our trade, forcing them to face longer journeys.”
Keith Mulford, 64, owner of the local butcher shop, Dennis of Bexley, said: “Thank goodness there’s no intention to take away free customer parking.
“I’ve been located here for 11 years employing some 30 people.”
Mr Mulford, who runs the family business with wife Linda and daughters Sarah and Wendy, added: “We built this business up from nothing.
“If our customers didn’t have those free spaces, it would be a death blow for us. So it’s a great relief all round that it’s not now going to happen.”
At the Londis store, owner Kiran Patel, 61, shared in the joy: “Now it’s business as usual, allowing us to concentrate on what we do best, serving the community.”