Andrew tackles Next about staff parking

Andrew Helps next to the new NEXT store in Hedge  End

Andrew Helps next to the new NEXT store in Hedge End

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.

  14 comments for “Andrew tackles Next about staff parking

  1. September 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    It was nice to talk to Andrew & Sue the other other evening.

    My opinion on this is;

    ‘Next have not advised staff to park on residential roads”

    is subtly different to;

    ‘Next have advised staff to not park on residential roads”

    The order of the words makes a big difference here….!

    • Andrew Helps
      September 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Very very true Ray. I am glad that I have been able to help the residents of Hedge End and hope that this does not become a problem in the future

  2. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    September 11, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    If the store has created local jobs, as we have been told, then surely staff should be walking to work?

  3. September 11, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Andrew has obviously missed a vocation, although it is easy to over engineer a problem, which would have been addressed during planning permissions. A business can only pacify residents of an area to a degree, and as already stated, it is not illegal to park in those areas.

  4. Rosie
    September 11, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    The same was happening in Whiteley, where the new local major shops were advising staff to park in residential streets.
    As for “local” jobs, legislation is such that employers can’t discriminate positively to employ mostly local people (which is a shame, and is probably the major cause of our gridlocked roads where too many people are driving from one county to work in another!).

    • September 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Of course businesses are going to advise staff to park in local streets. They want the car park have as many empty spaces as possible for customers…

  5. September 12, 2014 at 8:31 am

    “Next are also in conversation with the local authority regarding a detailed travel plan. I hope your residents will be reassured by this.”

    I think we would be more reassured if the Next person was aware there was already a travel plan submitted as part of the planning application which was supposed to come into force as soon as the store opened.

    It states:
    The Travel Plan represents a long-term strategy for reducing the dependence of staff and visitors on travel by private car. The objectives of the plan are: • To increase awareness of opportunities for travel by sustainable modes of transport such as walking, cycling and public transport. • To promote and, where necessary, introduce a package of measures that will facilitate and encourage travel by sustainable modes and reduce the reliance on the private car.

    The residential part of this development, now known as Shafford Meadows, is to be an unadopted road, and there are already signs threatening fines if people park there. It seems the developers were aware there could be an overflow parking problem from Next and have taken steps to make sure it becomes somebody else’s problem.

    • September 12, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      I wasn’t reassured by that either Keith. Quite the opposite actually. I was actually rather alarmed by the idea, as I know how our Local Authority works…..

  6. Sue
    September 12, 2014 at 9:34 am

    we need to get over our love affaire with the car and start thinking more long term. If we dont I see a society where, in order to keep traffic moving, whole sections of poorer citizens are priced out of the faster roads using tolls and such. I foresee parking fees everywhere, not just town centres and hospitals! I foresee congestion charges that most simply cant afford. Across the board charges have never been a fair way to distribute a service. We really do need a sustainable countrywide transport plan?

    • September 12, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      I think it would be better to accept that the car is a good thing and is here to stay. Local Authorities should plan accordingly, rather than try to control & dictate how we should travel…

      • Sue
        September 12, 2014 at 6:50 pm

        I think that one day, if we were able to look back, we’d see that the car enjoyed a relatively brief heyday, providing freedom of movement and such, before the roads ground to a stop. The only way around this is if the rich take to the skies in mini helecopters in larger and larger numbers :0) Or the cost of driving keeps most off the roads.

  7. September 12, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Meanwhile Eastleigh BC actively encourages driving to out of town businesses – see the plug for a recently opened coffee establishment in the current Borough News. “Located just off J7 of the M27 .. ideal for stopping by for your daily coffee fix..”

  8. Hedge End Townie
    September 15, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Last time I looked, Hedge End was a town of about 21,000 people. So how can it be out of town – out of which town? I love it and walk there regularly from my house in…Hedge End.

    • September 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Lol. That’s a very good point. Perhaps it’s about time Hedge End declared Independence from Eastleigh….?

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