A 200-space Coulsdon car park that was controversially closed is set to re-open after plans to build a new supermarket on the site stalled.

Croydon Council shut the car park in Lion Green Road in July to make way for the construction of a Waitrose store, originally slated to open in 2017.

But it emerged last month that the original proposal had been scrapped, after officers from the Croydon Council Urban Regeneration Vehicle (CCURV) decided it was "no longer a viable option."

Labour council leader Tony Newman has said the car park will re-open "within a matter of weeks", once resurfacing had taken place and pay machine reinstalled.


Jan 19: 'All pain, no gain': Tories slam council over parking in Coulsdon as doubts cast over plans for new Waitrose supermarket in Lion Green Road

Nov 19: Aldi backs down on plans to restrict parking at Coulsdon store in Brighton Road

The move follows an outcry from Coulsdon businesses and politicians, but Coun Newman denied suggestions that the council had performed a 'u-turn' or bowed to public pressure by re-opening the car park.

He said: "Absolutely not. It looked like the development was going to happen, and of course we have to back that.

"I would say that the council has manoeuvred a rather elegant three-point-turn rather than a u-turn.

"We're making it very clear that the new development will include car parking, but that car park as we know it won't be there for the long term."

Describing the terms of the original arrangement between CCURV and development company John Laing to build the Waitrose as "bonkers", Coun Newman said the council's in-house developers were now looking at alternative proposals for the site.

Any new development would still include a Waitrose, Coun Newman said, but it was likely to a smaller store than originally envisaged.

Different options for the rest of the site were being considered, he said: "It could be some car parking, it could some housing, it could be leisure."

The original development proposal, which also included a community centre, would have provided 190 car spaces.

Since the closure of Lion Green Road last year, a number of businesses in Coulsdon have claimed trade in the area was being affected by a lack of parking provision.

Gary Beckett, owner of Advanced Print on nearby Brighton Road, said: "It's good news for as long as it lasts, because the next scheme will probably cock it up again.

"I'm so fed up with the lack of brains, the lack of any kind of knowledge of how Coulsdon works. They [the council] couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery.

"All of us are really frustrated."

Mario Creatura said, Conservative councillor for Coulsdon West, said: "'After saying people in Coulsdon are 'obsessed with the motor car', it's welcome to learn that Cllr Newman has performed yet another u-turn and accepted our case that the council opens the car park after the council reportedly allowed the collapse of the development.

"Having somewhere for people to park in the town centre is vital for the survival of Coulsdon's local economy. Businesses have been struggling in the town, so it's great that the council has given in to public and political pressure and opened Lion Green Road."

Chris Philp, Conservative MP for Croydon South, said the car park re-opening would "make a big difference to traders and residents in Coulsdon".

Coun Newman said charges for the re-opened site would be "in line with other car parks" in the borough.

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