St. Francis’ Church Car Park

Dear Friends, As you will be aware the parish has had the use of the car park adjacent to the church for many years. What you may not be aware of is that the parish actually leases this land from a subsidiary company of Network Rail.

This has meant that in the past, through being able to sub-let parking spaces on Monday – Friday, we have been able to both cover the cost of the lease and make a small profit from the parking fees. This was on top of the maintenance we had to pay for the gates and general keeping the car park in useable condition.

The lease was last signed in 2011 on a ten year term. We have recently been informed that the lease is due for renewal and following a review, the cost to the parish was to be doubled to in excess of £38,000 per year. A new lease would mean the parish committing to paying, and being liable for, over £380,000 over the next ten years!

Currently, due to the impact of Covid, with no-one working at KCC and other local offices, the parish is receiving no income from the letting of weekday parking spaces. Information received also indicates that only a few essential staff are likely to be returning to full-time working in the offices of the businesses where we have traditionally gained most of our parking lets from.

In view of this, and after taking specialist advice, it has been decided that the only sensible and financially viable option for the parish to take, is to relinquish the lease on the car park, when it expires at the start of August. This means that the car park will not be available from then.

Consideration was given to trying to find different customers, but this firstly is not guaranteed, and secondly, in order to cover the increased costs, we would have had to more than double the current fees. Alternative options such as setting up a ‘Pay & Display’ system were also looked at, but proved to be either too expensive or difficult to implement.

Locally, there are a number of alternative options for car parking when visiting the church, especially at the weekend. On a Sunday, the British Rail car park is the bargain price of £1.00.

There is limited parking available outside of Grove House, however note these spaces are for the Parish Priest and for disabled passholders. Please do not block up the driveway itself.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to send me a message, or speak to me.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Fr Liam.

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