Purley residents criticise council's 'worrying view' of town after decommissioning of car park lifts

PURLEY businesses and politicians have criticised the council for having a "worrying view" towards the town after the final working lifts in the multi-storey car park were decommissioned.

The council said the 30-year-old lifts were taken out of use because it is "increasingly difficult to source spare parts".

The Advertiser understands the car park has been without lifts since December last year.

The car park has 412 spaces with 12 disabled bays. In Whytecliffe Road, opposite Purley train station, it is popular with commuters as well as workers from the shops and offices in the town centre.

Simon Cripps, chairman of Purley Business Association and the campaign for a Purley BID, said there is "no love or investment" from the council in Purley".

He said: "If this happened to any of the car parks in Croydon there would be outrage. It's a very worrying view that they have towards Purley."

Mr Cripps said the closure of the lifts will prevent people coming to shop in Purley.

"If you go to pick up your dry cleaning in town and realise you have to lug it up five flights of stairs you will think 'I'll do it somewhere else'," he said.

Mr Cripps said Purley BID will challenge the Labour-run council on the closure of the lifts and wants to see them brought back into service with revenue from the car park.

He also questioned whether daily cleaning at the car park is taking place.

"There's no way you can have an elderly business owner parking on the roof and walking down those stairs," Mr Cripps said.

Purley's Conservative councillor Simon Brew said the lifts are "extremely unpleasant" and have, in the past, been used as toilets and by drug users.

But he said closing all the lifts in the car park will cause a "huge issue" for disabled and elderly shoppers.

Cllr Brew dismissed the council's explanation about difficulty in finding parts as "just an excuse".

He said: "It's a very serious issue. To get from the disabled bays to the High Street you have to go down a really steep slope, which in a wheelchair is extremely dangerous.

"They are not taking any account the fact that disabled people cannot get to High Street, cannot get to Purley Pool, and there's no alternative."

A source at Purley Leisure Centre, which is next to the car park, said the closure of the lifts will make it difficult for elderly swimmers and parents bringing small children to swimming lessons in the afternoon.

Atilla Kentman has run Purley Café in High Street for nine years and said it is already a "ghost town" without an added deterrent for customers.

A council spokesman said: "The lifts in Purley's multi-storey car park are some 30 years old and it is becoming increasingly difficult to source spare parts when problems arise."

The spokesman said the car park is cleaned daily, Monday to Friday, and if customers see cleansing issues they can email parking@croydon.gov.uk or call 020 8726 7100.

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08/08/2015