Airport valet parking firm kicked out of base

8:00am Tuesday 15th January 2013

A PRIVATE firm offering valet parking for Southend Airport passengers has been told it will be kicked out of its base by council chiefs.

Southend Airport Car Park, which only got off the ground in April 2012, has been given three months to move on after failing to secure planning permission.

Southend Council ruled the firm should not be allowed to use a former development site on the Temple Farm industrial estate as its base because the airport already offered enough parking spaces.

But the fledgling company, which employs ten people, has vowed to fight for its future.

Lorraine Larman, financial director, said: “We will appeal this decision and we believe we have a good case.

“To say the airport already has enough spaces is basically saying no one has a right to compete.

“We are creating jobs and surely some jobs are better than none?”

Southend Airport has three long-stay car parks and a short-stay option, with more than 1,000 spaces available.

SACP has 80 spaces in its base off Coopers Way. The company, which originally operated from a base in Progress Road, Southend, moved to its current site last summer to cope with the growing demand.

But council chiefs pointed out the land was not included in the airport’s own transport strategy, which was agreed when it embarked on its £100million expansion programme in 2010.

They also claimed the permanent conversion of an industrial estate site into a commercial car park would lead to a loss of employment land.

Alastair Welch, the managing director of Southend Airport, said: “At the airport, we work hard to ensure we offer unrivalled choice and value for our customers.

“We have plenty of space, free set down and pick up, a choice of short and long stay, roll up or pre-book and great offers, such as our free parking offer for January and February.

“There are no off-airport operators endorsed or approved by us, as we feel the airport can offer the most competitive deals for its passengers - therefore we would strongly urge passengers to compare any off site rates with what we can offer before booking.”

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