Drivers parking at a supermarket in Lichfield will have to shop in the store in order to use the car park from next week.

The new parking terminals at Tesco in Lichfield

Plans for the new ANPR system at Tesco on Church Street were approved earlier this year.

From Monday (6th September) shoppers who spend at least £5 in the store will receive up to three hours of free parking.

A statement alongside the original planning application said:

The Tesco supermarket in Lichfield. Picture: Google Streetview

“Tesco are finding that their car park is coming under considerable pressure and is being used by non-Tesco customers.

“This is limiting the number of spaces available to shoppers, detracting from the attractiveness of the store as a main food shopping location, and in turn impacting on its trading performance.

“The revised controls will ensure that there is a greater turnover of parking to create more freely available spaces for shoppers to visit both the store and shops located within the city centre.

“For example, a customer may undertake a half-hour shop at the Tesco store where they spend more than the £5, and remain with the car park for a further two and a half hours.

“We consider that the revised parking controls are sufficient to allow linked trips with other city centre uses, especially on the basis that its main purpose is to serve the Tesco store.”

Planning statement

New machines have been installed in the entry to the store, with shoppers who reach the minimum spend given a ticket to scan alongside their registration plate.

The original planning application said those who did not validate their visit would receive a penalty charge of £70, reduced to £42 if paid within 14 days. It added that stays of 30 minutes or less would not be charged to allow pick up and drop off journeys.

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43 Comments

  1. Tesco seem to forget that part of the 2009 redevelopment required parking to be available to all with no conditions attached to encourage shoppers to visit the centre of town. Small businesses feared the new superstore would move footfall away from them and this was one of the concessions of the project being allowed.

    Hope some of the charge go someway to fixing the woeful traffic light creating jams that block customers and buses exiting the carpark. Tesco have always blamed the Highways Agency for incorrect vehicle sensor placement and the HA have always blamed the plans that Tesco submitted in the first place and around in circles we’ve gone for over a decade, time is long overdue to get it fixed.

  2. Amazing that at a time when stocks of items on the shelves are low (Tesco’s have been out of sugar for 2 days!) and there are stark warnings about future stock levels in the run up to Christmas, that they would dare start charging customers. The amount of times I have been in and not been able to find what I want due to it being out of stock or due for delivery…and for that privilege of finding out what we want is not there, we will be charged?! I think the timing stinks, and I sincerely hope this is a misfire for Tesco’s that results in loss of sales.

  3. So much for every little helps extortionate prices anyway can’t afford to shop there only for reduced items that are on there sell by date

  4. I personally think this is good, the amount of times I have gone to do my shopping to not find a space because someone has parked and gone into the city if that’s what you can call it. I’ve even seen cheeky devils park on Tesco and walk over to Aldi to buy their rubbish food. You get the first half an hour free anyway.

  5. One of the reasons for the increased demand on parking at Tesco is the behaviour of Excel Parking in the town centre. Excel send out parking notices for using their parks outside the tariff times! This has been going on for months and some people pay up because they (a) haven’t noticed that parking is free after 18.30, or (b) they are terrified by the threats posed by the notice and assume they made a mistake. Others have paid properly between 7.30 & 18.30, but the machine doesn’t provide a receipt, so they can’t prove it and they pay up. This is deliberate Excel policy – if you complain, they stop sending you notices but carry on wrongfully charging others – so this is clearly intentional. Complain to them; complain to Three Spires; complain to LDC; report Excel to the police.

  6. Been in place at Walsall Superstore successfully for years. Makes perfect sense. Why should Tesco provide free parking for people who won’t be shopping in Tesco?! Spending under £5 means you’ll be under 30 mins too so no problem there either. Well done Tesco.

  7. The state of some of these comments.

    The store is called Tesco. Not Tesco’s or Tescos. It’s right there in the article and spelt out on the side of the store in large illuminated letters.

    Tesco didn’t forget they agreed to provide free parking. They had to make a planning application to introduce this change. The application was obviously approved.

    If you can’t manage to find £5 of stuff you will use to buy in a supermarket why did you drive to a supermarket?

    If you think this is indirect taxation you don’t understand taxation.

    If you if you think this Tesco store charges extortionate prices you don’t understand the word extortionate. If you really can’t afford to shop in this Tesco, I feel bad for you because it really not expensive. If you want to see expensive prices go look in the Waitrose attached to the Shell garage on London road. Food in supermarkets in this country is cheap https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45559594). If there’s any extortion going on it’s at the source of the food not at the point of sale. Food in this country is so cheap that some who produce it struggle to make a profit in doing so (https://inews.co.uk/news/world/supermarkets-farmers-poverty-oxfam-167890 https://www.farminguk.com/news/farmers-raise-concern-as-tesco-demands-supplier-price-cuts_56043.html https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/aug/06/dairy-farmers-call-for-supermarkets-boycott-as-milk-price-falls). The margins that farmers and supermarkets operate on are very thin. We have become accustomed to this cheapness and balk at the idea of paying more. It is tragic that despite the cheapness of food some struggle to afford it.

    As the article says, have to spend £5 “in the store”. You can’t buy petrol in the store.

    The parking is run by APCOA Parking UK who are mentioned on https://parktoshop.co.uk/terms That the webpage also mentions Tesco and no other companies and the colour scheme is Tesco blue means Tesco have decided to use the very generic domain name parktoshop.co.uk for matters relating to parking at their stores, which seems like a strange thing to do.

  8. I suppose if it is Tesco’s carpark they are within their rights to control parking there. Not sure how this will work in practice, as it may well deter people from popping in for odd items, and if the things you want are not in stock then what do you do? Whenever private parking companies are involved I expect the worst. They are out to make money not provide a service. The fiasco at the Three Spires carpark is a case in point. I think Tesco may well find they have shot themselves in the foot with this.

  9. As stated by. Jonesy Tesco’s Lichfield redevelopment was to include parking for all with no conditions. This is why it shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Lichfield city centre has become an embarrassment in recent years in terms of parking, traffic lights and non redevelopment. This is just another negative. Had it not been their duty to provide unconditional parking then the rationale behind it is fine. But as that’s not the case then Tesco should be held to task over this.

  10. Well Harold, not everyone feels comfortable going back into supermarkets yet.
    Filling up with petrol usually costs more than a fiver and you can buy odds & sods to that value at the petrol station which come from the store.
    Actually being able to park in Tesco has been a godsend when I’ve had to take relatives to the health centre which hardly ever has parking space and is like a slalom getting past the new development at Deans Croft.
    Still, it’s up to them but I would say that if it wasn’t for LL they’ve not exactly publicised this much have they…?

  11. We have stopped shopping at Tesco now full stop. They have increased prices to rediculous levels unless we have a club card and now with the descions to make life even harder by putting pressure on to pay for parking…Tesco, you have lost our custom.

  12. If you forget to validate your parking, which you will, you can do it on line with a 3rd party parking management company which is just another way to grab your personal data and do god knows what with. I’ve never had an issue finding a parking spot so they’re talking a load of bobbins. Meanwhile Fabricant is no where to be found in all this.

  13. I can see and understand both sides of the issue.
    The overiding factor is how did Tesco manage to get the application granted?
    The Council, as always plays god and seems to have the divine right to pass, or not what they wish.
    Would like to see how they came to their conclusions on passing it through?
    Just a thought.

  14. What is the problem here? The car park belongs to Tesco and is for the use of their customers. If their customers cannot shop there due to people parking in the car park then they are within their rights to do something about it. The planning decision to build Tesco was years ago and things have changed and cannot be in perpetuity. They have followed the rules in applying for permission to charge people who choose to use their car park but do not shop there. It’s not a tax it’s got nothing to do with shortages in store and if you don’t like it you can choose to shop elsewhere. Also why should Tesco have their car park full of the cars of shoppers who refuse to use the council run car parks? I think there are more important local matters than Tesco’s car park….

  15. Well, this will increase street parking around Lichfield which in turn will cause other problems. At the end of the Day Tescos is a business and in business to make money simple. Personally, I believe this will backfire on Tescos but as Tesco are that big in the retail sector don’t this the CEO will lose any sleep over it if you want it to change then you have to do something about it like Boycott Tesco Lichfiled but this will never happen and in the end, it will become the norm. As much as I love Lichfield it has over the years has lost too many shops in the city and it is very rare I now go into town if I do due to appointment I walk or get a lift I now do all my food shop at the Food Factory on Eastern Avenue and if I need to go shopping, shopping I go to Tamworth as Tamworth has everything that Lichfield should have in 5 or 10 years time there be nothing in Litchfield City Center to shop for and Tesco will Close it store and we all end up going to Tamworth anyway.

  16. This is happening all over the country not just Tesco but Aldi Sainsburys Morrisons etc too. It is not public land. If you are buying in the supermarket – no problem! If not multi story normally has spaces at £1 per hour

  17. This is brilliant news! The traffic trying to get out of the car park on a weekend can be horrendous. This is amplified at festive times due to everyone after the free parking. This should hopefully stop people using it as an alternative to paying in town and free up spaces for Tesco shoppers!
    Remember, this is really only an issue if you’re not shopping at Tesco as it’s still free for 30mins for a quick stop and still free if you spend over £5.

  18. I’m assuming the person who claimed Aldi sell rubbish food has never shopped there, as Aldi most definitely do not sell rubbish food, their own brand food is far superior to Tesco. Also how does she know that the people popping over from the Tesco car park to Aldi have not actually also shopped at Tesco, many people do this.
    I’m just worried that this move by Tesco will lead to difficulties finding spaces in the Aldi car park, which is free for Aldi customers, but does not have a spending limit

  19. Personally I can’t see why people are concerned – just shop at Waitrose. Free parking, clean, wide-aisles, and no riff-raff. It’s a no brainer!

  20. Look forward to meeting you in Waitrose, Lichfield Matt, We could have a chat over a Cup of Coffee. Presume there is a Coffee Shop. Riff and Raff.

  21. The change has caused panic in elderly shoppers. One stopped me last week most concerned they would get fined or had done something wrong. Fortunately other supermarkets are available and that’s where I’ll be going. When things go wrong with these systems, which it will, these parking companies are impossible to deal with.

  22. What happens if you don’t spend £5 on shopping and exceed the half hour parking, as some people can take an age to buy items.
    Is there anywhere to pay for parking or will you be hit with a fine.
    Ask your councillor why they voted for the change to the parking conditions if you’re not happy.
    As for price increases, all the supermarkets are at it not just Tesco. Why? Businesses who had to close during the pandemic are recouping their losses by increasing prices but the supermarkets remained open so no loss in sales.

  23. Some people just like to moan moan moan. You’ll spend more in fuel than you will on parking or groceries, in which case you should walk. I’ve seen so many people in Tesco who look like they could do with more exercise.

  24. Just had the pleasure of using Tesco’s car park with the new parking charge. You can’t actually pay the charge though. The only way to pay is to spend at least £5 in Tesco, then you have to scan the voucher they give you and enter your vehicle details at the machine on the way out. £70 if you forget to do so, or I think £42 if you pay within three weeks or something. That’s worse than forgetting to pay after you’ve used the Dartford crossing (which I’ve done a couple of times). You also have to leave the car park within fifteen minutes of scanning your voucher, so no popping into Lichfield after you’ve been to Tesco, unless you have a very reliable memory and won’t get caught out. By the way, I’ve never seen the car park so empty, except maybe after midnight. Tesco will be losing out big time. I used to park there often when visiting Lichfield and usually bought stuff in Tesco before I left. Not any more. I’ll avoid it, just like the Dartford crossing. Lichfield is going to lose out too. There are other places where you can still park for free. Strangely enough though, a Tesco employee told me this wasn’t Tesco’s idea, but the Council’s. Apparently the Council wants more people to use its car parks in town. Some hope. The member of staff also told me it’s much quieter in Tesco now. It’s lose lose for everyone concerned, the shop, the city and the shoppers. The only possible winner is the firm operating the car park. I wonder if it’s the same bunch that are operating the Backcester Lane car park.

  25. Carl, like many others, seems to not understand how this works. It’s not notable that’s there’s no way to pay to for parking. It’s not intended that people pay to park there. It’s intended that people who park there either do so by being there less than 30 minutes or spending at least £5 in the store. There isn’t a tariff of charges like a regular car park. It’s not intended that anyone wouldn’t pay £70 at the machines, why on earth would anyone want to do that? The £70 is effectively a fine.

    There is nothing that prevents you going in to town after shopping at Tesco. Why do people think there is? Why does it not occur to people that they could simply not validate their parking the moment they come out of the store and do it when they get back from town? That’s not some weird unusual concept, it’s effectively the the same thing you have to do in many other car parks where you have to go visit a machine to pay for how long you’ve been there before leaving. It doesn’t require any more reliable a memory than many other car parking systems do. Or you could go in to town first, them go in to Tesco. Unless you’re Carl who has decided he’ll no longer do that for reasons he doesn’t explain.

    People are inventing problems with this scheme which simply do not exist. It’s insane logic to declare you will no longer shop at Tesco because of this. The only people the scheme impacts are those who used the car park without shopping at Tesco.

    It is strange that a Tesco employee would say it’s the council’s idea. It sounds complete b*********. If it was true it would be general public knowledge by now. Tesco had to apply for planning permission to make the change. Tesco have recently introduced this scheme at other stores for example https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/swansea-tesco-marina-parking-free-20943954

  26. I was always under the impression ,possibly mistakenly,That Tesco were originally granted planning permission to build a store on the site of the old cattle market on condition that parking was always free.

  27. Thanks for the feedback Carl. I usually shop in Tesco, but didn’t fancy the aggro of tackling the new system, and certainly not on a Saturday, so I went to the Co-op instead. I suspect a lot of people will do likewise. If there is any truth in the assertion that it was the council’s idea, I think serious questions need to be asked.

  28. As it is impossible to leave Tesco’s car park on a Friday in 15 minutes , Has the council done this deliberately to rake in the money? I don’t go there on Saturday’s but I expect it is just as bad trying to leave as on Friday’s. It took me half an hour to get out a week ago, every inch of Tesco’s roadways was chockablock. I wonder what their next devious plan will be to fleece Lichfield shoppers. I will be going back to Morrisons.

  29. It’s an absolute joke. We used this on Friday, after using scan and shop. We had to confirm we wanted a receipt printed (which surely it should print them as a matter of course, knowing customers need them). Then we proceeded to use the parking machines. It would not recognise the barcode, or our car registration. While we were struggling to use it numerous people were asking us for guidance on how to use it, particularly the elderly…there was not one Tesco employee present to assist. A journey then made back upstairs to find 3 staff members chatting away, who explained that the scan and shop “was having a meltdown and not printing the right receipts” and also told that staff were present by the machines at one point! Really ridiculous customer service! Tesco has implemented it, surely they can assist people with its use and if there are issues with the tills or machines then some signage or staff guidance would be useful. It will push people away from using the shop. They have messed up big time, and I don’t mean implementing a pay for park system, just which payment system they have chosen. I forsee penalties being incorrectly sent out because of this.

  30. Interesting that Easy Parker says “Carl, like many others, seems to not understand how this works.” Indeed, he/she’s right, many people don’t understand why Tesco would want to drive away their own customers to have the luxury of an almost empty car park. Obviously, I wasn’t volunteering to pay a £70 fine upfront, but it would be nice to be able to pay the £5 (or preferably a little less) to park and then get the money refunded (deducted) at the till (like at Morrisons in Walsall), rather than the more complex system Tesco is using. I really don’t see why a member of staff at Tesco would be deliberately misleading. I’ve no reason not to believe what I was told. And certainly you might expect the Council to have some say in what went on.

  31. I used the Tesco car park last Saturday 25/9/21) and I was not aware that the store had started to charge to park. How do I stand?

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