Guernsey Press

Forest businesses worried about airport parking fees

RISES in the cost of parking at the airport will increase the number of travellers dumping their cars around the Forest to try to save money while on holiday, business owners and parish officials have warned.

Shanine Opie is the landlady of Happy Landings, one business among others in the parish that is concerned about the rise in airport parking fees, as car owners using the airport have been parking in nearby areas to avoid paying fees at the airport. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32544300)

From the start of next month airport free parking will be cut to half an hour, while the charge for 24 hours will rise from £12 to £20.

Senior constable Jane Niles said that the parish had experienced problems in the past and police had been called on some occasions.

‘We have had issues with people abandoning their cars while going on holiday,’ she said. ‘We’ve worked with the police to have these issues resolved.’

Guernsey Ports head of commercial James Underwood said there were a range of options with people travelling to the airport, including public transport and lifts from friends, as well as paid parking.

‘We therefore hope that people do not abuse any other parking provisions, and we do not believe the increase in airport parking charges will make people any more inclined to do so,’ he said.

Long-term parking rates are due to increase, with a charge of £60 for 48-72 hours, then £12 for each further 24-hour period or part.

This was of particular concern, said Mrs Niles.

‘We’ve already had instances where we’ve had people parking in the parish, on the street, in front of businesses and in front of people’s homes. If it’s an obstruction, we want it moved.

‘We would ask people to please be considerate – if you’re going on holiday, use the airport car park, or get a taxi or bus.’

Parish procureur Richard Heaume also owns the Occupation Museum, which is not far from the airport and has a public car park.

He has also had problems.

‘A lot of people park in my car park, leave their cars and go away,’ he said. He thought the situation would get worse.

‘It’s going to increase, now.

‘We also have people parking around Petit Bot in the lanes and on the road around the church.’

He felt increasing the fees ‘is not a good idea at all. It’s not going to be in the interest of visitors or locals to do that.’

He said there had been occasions where cars have been left for a week or more. At that point he takes action.

‘I put a notice on the car, take the number and ask them to pay me a donation.’

Forest Stores’ car park is terre a l’amende, meaning that a £50 fine can be levied on cars left there.

Store co-owner Keith Bienvenu said there had not been a big problem with people leaving their cars and estimated that this involved about 20 cars a year.

But he was worried that the increase in long-term parking fees might lead to more people choosing to pay the fine.

‘If it does become a problem we’ll have to try to sort something out,’ he said.

‘At the moment it’s not too bad.’

Happy Landings landlady Shanine Opie said cars were often left in its car park and it was common for vehicles to be left for a weekend.

Sometimes customers asked if they could park for a couple of days or so and she let them, but unknown drivers could be an issue on public holidays: ‘It’s so annoying because I’m struggling for parking spaces as it is.’

A polite notice is placed on offenders’ cars for when they return.

‘It’s a problem and now with the prices going up there’s going to be a lot more of it,’ said Mrs Opie.