A Labour party campaigner in Hedge End has tackled Next about instructions that were given to staff about parking at the new Next store in Hedge End.
Andrew Helps, who lives near the new Next store, learned that staff were being instructed to park on the residential roads, rather than in the car park at the Next store.
Although it is perfectly legal for anybody to park on public roads, the concern was that this would cause a problem on the tight, twisty, modern residential cul-de-sacs in the vicinity of the new Next store. Andrew was also concerned about parking in Turnpike Way, a major route that passes through the Wildern area of Hedge End.
As Andrew explained;
“I’ve been tipped off by three different local residents who were all going to work up at the Next development. Bearing it mind that this was still when Next was being built, they said they were told on staff orientation that they were to park on residential roads, i.e. Downscroft Gardens & specifically Berrywood Gardens.”
“It’s difficult to park in these roads as it is and quite frankly an influx of people parking here is not needed, so I thought lets curb this before it becomes a problem”
“I rang up NEXT and I was passed around three or four different Departments, but eventually got through to a lady in the Estates Dept. I told her what I’d been told and said this is what is going to happen. She said she was going to investigate and it led to a chain of emails”.
“The first email seemed like a quick ‘I want to get rid of you email’, but after pressing her I got a more solid response.”
“At the end of the day, we have an email where Next have said ‘no’ to staff parking in residential areas, but we can’t really do anything about it. Having said that, I’m pleased to say that since Next opened I haven’t personally seen an increase in the number of cars parking in the area.”
” We will be doing a newsletter addressing residents in the area, to make sure that if the do see it happening, they need to email NEXT.”
“I want to make sure that people are aware of this and make sure that they can push forward to make sure that it doesn’t happen. It’s all very well one person keeping an eye out, but with lots of people keeping an eye out, there’s a better chance of making sure that it doesn’t happen”
In the email chain that Andrew refers to, which we have seen, the spokesperson for the Estates Dept at NEXT tells Andrew that;
“I can certainly understand your concerns about parking in the residential area around our new store.”
“Our store Manager wanted me to assure you that our staff have certainly not been advised to park in the residential roads around the store”
“Next are also in conversation with the local authority regarding a detailed travel plan. I hope your residents will be reassured by this.”
“… our Store Manager will be reminding staff of the parking guidelines when they gather for a team building session prior to opening. I have also passed on your suggestion for a notice on the staff noticeboard.”
“… staff parking guidelines are particular to individual stores, so I am not able to provide you with a copy.”
“… staff have most definitely not been advised to park in residential roads around the store, so we do not feel there is an issue to resolve”
“… any queries/complaints should be directed in the first instance to our Complaint Resolution Management Team ”
” Alternatively, a contact form is available on the NEXT website, along with full details of our response procedure.”
When I asked Andrew if he was satisfied with the response that he had received, he said that he was, and added;
“When I rang them up it took a while to get through to the right Department, nobody seem to understand it was a new store, but once I got through they said somebody would ring back within the day. In fairness they did ring back to me within the day.”
“On emails, they were about 2 days between emails, but that was OK as they were investigating with the store. ”
“The only thing I could fault was the initial response, which was a bit ‘I don’t really want to deal with you, go away…’, but after you ask the right questions you get the answers out of them…”
“The lady at Next was very good. She said ‘I’m glad we were able to deal with this issue before it became a problem’..”
A spokesperson for Next told Eastleigh News;
“In response to the concerns raised by Mr Helps, we can confirm that Next did not advise staff to park in a residential area.”
If any Hedge End residents do notice a problem with parking in the vicinity of the new Next Store, please contact Andrew Helps directly, via HEWEBLAB@yahoo.co.uk, who is now monitoring the situation and will take this up with Next as appropriate.