A Mystery company is to introduce parking charges at a disused town centre site with its owners, Tesco, under fire for its handling of the situation.
Two Falkirk North councillors say Tesco’s decision to lease out the car park at its old Callendar Road store will damage smaller businesses and claim the company is putting profits before the interests of the community.
Falkirk North councillor David Alexander said: “Tesco needs to explain to the people of Falkirk why they have introduced these restrictions on a site they have effectively abandoned.
“It appears to be a shoddy money-making exercise that adds nothing to the local economy, in fact, it takes money out of Falkirk town centre.
“Two-hour restrictions will lead to a more-rushed visit to the town centre and a potential loss of local investment, which is why the actions of Tesco are so damaging to other smaller shops and businesses.”
Site Seek Security caused confusion last week when they began informing drivers they will soon be charged to park and will be clamped if they don’t pay £2 for a ‘quick stop’, stay of up to two hours or £3.50 per day.
Parkers, worried they were being duped because the flyers and posters had no contact details, phoned The Falkirk Herald.
A story in last week’s Herald prompted a call from a man claiming to be the firm’s owner. He said his name was Phil, but refused to reveal his surname or company details.
Tesco, which had failed to respond to the Herald in time for last week’s edition, this week confirmed they were finalising a deal to allow car parking
A spokesman said: “There is an ongoing security and fly tipping issue at the car park and, in light of this, we have taken the decision to contract out the management of the car park. This will provide the people that use it with additional security and also ensure that it is not abused and can continue to be used by visitors to the town centre.”
Work on securing the former supermarket has been carried out. ‘Phil’ said: “Businesses are delighted we have secured the building and the car park. The other car parks in the town are all dearer than us, except the British Rail one at Grahamston. We are a good company who want to progress in Falkirk and there is no ground for criticism here. Only a minority of people have complained.
“We are here to secure the car park, not to make fortunes. We were prompted to secure the building earlier and when we went into it there were 10 junkies inside, some with needles sticking out their arms.
“The majority of people welcome this. There will be a taxi line and parents can drop kids off free of charge.”
Councillors Alexander and Cecil Meiklejohn said they are worried by Tesco’s failure to sell the site.
Councillorr Meiklejohn said: “There are strong rumours the only serious interest is from a competitor and Tesco needs to clarify that point.”
Tesco insists it wants to find a buyer or lease the site as soon as possible.
A spokesman said: “We are actively seeking a replacement operator for our site at Callendar Park and are in discussions with a number of retailers.
“We will continue our discussions with Falkirk Council about the best use for the site, and look forward to finding a new owner in the near future.”