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Car parking cameras installed at Neats Court retail park, Queenborough, Sheppey


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Shoppers at a retail complex with free parking arrive to see CCTV cameras monitoring cars.

Until now, all parking at Neats Court in Queenborough, Sheppey, has been unrestricted.

One of the new car parking cameras
One of the new car parking cameras
Natasha Sedge, regional manager of Snap Fitness, with the new car parking terminal at Neats Court retail park
Natasha Sedge, regional manager of Snap Fitness, with the new car parking terminal at Neats Court retail park

It is understood the decision is part of a blitz to reduce shoplifting at the site and to also hit noisy car meets which use the location on Saturday nights.

Motorists were first alerted to the changes by a social media post from Snap Fitness which has had a terminal installed on its reception desk.

Regional manager Natasha Sedge said: "We still don't know any details of what free parking customers will be entitled to but as we are open 24 hours we needed a way our members could register their cars so they don't get fined."

She added: "I think the cameras might be to stop the car meets on Saturday nights although we have never had any problems with them. It's not been an issue."

Some business owners have been told shoppers could be entitled to limited free parking as happens in Sheerness. Tesco allows shoppers three free hours and Aldi gives its customers 90 minutes before fines kick in.

One of the new car parking cameras at Neats Court retail park, Queenborough
One of the new car parking cameras at Neats Court retail park, Queenborough
Ski Pearn on security at B&M at Neats Court retail park
Ski Pearn on security at B&M at Neats Court retail park
Neats Court retail park at Queenborough
Neats Court retail park at Queenborough

Ms Sedge said: "As long as they don't introduce pay and display it will be OK. It doesn't appear to be a money-making scheme but one of control to stop people abusing the car park.

"Many of our members come from Sittingbourne because of the free parking."

Security man Ski Pearn at B&M welcomed the cameras, which are mounted on poles at the entrances to the car park.

He said: "I think it's a good idea. It should help stop shoplifting. Only on Saturday we had two men trying to steal a couple of Henry Hoovers from the store.

"If I know the time of the offence, police can ask for pictures of the vehicles leaving the site at that time and track them down."

Neats Court retail park at Queenborough
Neats Court retail park at Queenborough

He added: "We've never had any problems with the car meets although they begin arriving around 5pm instead of 8pm when most shops shut. It would make better sense to hold the meets on Sunday afternoons after 4pm."

Staff at Cancer Research UK and Sports Direct said they were aware of the cameras but had not been given any information about when they were going live or what restrictions would be imposed.

Staff at HomePlus Furniture did not know about the cameras until we told them.

Millie Rowlinson, duty manager at Iceland, said: "We've been told about them but I am concerned about staff parking. I'd like to know where staff will be able to park all day."

The retail park formerly owned by LXB Retail was bought from Lightstone by M7 in December. The site is now managed by a company called Tandem.

Millie Rowlingson, duty manager of Iceland at Neats Court retail park
Millie Rowlingson, duty manager of Iceland at Neats Court retail park
One of the new car parking cameras installed at Neats Court
One of the new car parking cameras installed at Neats Court
Neats Court retail park at Queenborough
Neats Court retail park at Queenborough

Lightstone still owns the food court over the road which includes the Five Bridges restaurant, Creams, Starbucks, Franzos and Burger King. That area, and the car park around Morrisons, is not covered by the new cameras.

Cllr Cameron Beart, who represents Halfway and Queenborough on Swale council, said: "I've heard about the new cameras. I understand the new owners are renting the car park to Euro Car Parks. I'm awaiting confirmation of the terms and conditions."

One shopper, who did not want to be named, said: "It won't affect me. I don't take long to do my shopping."

M7 has been asked for a comment.

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