[Forum] Willow Brook parking problems down to bad design?

Dear Editor,

Tesco Willow Brook Centre has major designed-in parking problems, resulting in discord between Tesco and its customers as detailed in previous posts and countless pub, office and back fence whinging sessions.

1. The general car park design is terrible (there is never a trolley shed anywhere near your car and there is a garden right across where you need to push the trolley to your car and the rows are all diagonal so you either have to make a long deviation or go between the cars, risking scratching them). I imagine the excessive number of spaces for disabled people that are never used is forced on them by some guideline or rule but that does not absolve them of the need to fight this nationally – having 4 times more spaces than they need does disabled people no good at all but builds resentment (against the store and rule makers, not the disabled themselves I hope!) among those who are denied access to them for no good  reason.

2. The fuel station is far too small and has insufficient parking space for people just wanting to visit the shop, plus it is has too easy access to the main store leading people to try to use it as a car park for them.  This was done to death in a previous set of posts which went over every possible aspect while completely missing the basic problem of poor design.  The result of this poor design is that Tesco have felt forced to sub-contract a car park scam company who are issuing fake and unenforceable PCNs [Ed: Penalty Charge Notices] all over the site for the most minor “infringement” in order to make a profit, thus losing goodwill and business for Tesco and other businesses.

Willow Brook Centre parking restrictions

3. There is a bus route right through the trolley pushing area.  It is bad enough that cars and trolleys have to mix but adding buses is insane!  What next, articulated delivery lorries at front of store?  It would have been quite easy to achieve the aim of delivering bus passengers close to a store door without routing the bus through the car park.  The local authority really should not have allowed this either.

Bus at the Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke

In the grander scale of things it would be nice at least to hear from Tesco that the lessons from this botched development have actually have been learned so that at least they are incorporated into future designs of Tesco shopping centres, perhaps even that they will not be using the same designers again, given the schoolboy errors that have been made.

Returning to the local issue, and on the assumption that Tesco currently consider these problems unaffordable to fix, those concerned about safety, potential legal problems or just being made to feel unwelcome on Tesco land should stop complaining  to each other and remember that this is not a one supermarket town.  The others have well designed car parks, safe bus access and plenty of space to park in the petrol station if you just want to shop there.  Also, none of them are involved with people who would risk being locked up if they tried to operate their ‘business’ in Scotland, so you do not need to worry about being a few inches over the white line of your parking space in their car parks.

I have previously had a good relationship with Tesco and would like to shop there again but there is no point so long as they have problems and other stores do not so I am voting, not with my feet, but with my large booted car, which I fill with groceries every week.  Tesco are building up a terrible reputation locally (what other store chain has triggered rioting? (To be fair probably more the fault of the local authority – but public perception is everything!)) so there are clearly some opportunities here for some bold and decisive management action to bring Tesco up to the standard of the other local stores in these respects.  I believe that all residents of the area would prefer to see recognition of the problem and an action plan followed by some proper solutions being put in place so that we can park without fear of being ‘fined’, get to the shop before our legs give out and return to the car easily and safely without risking being run down by a bus.   It would be better for all if Tesco was seen as a valuable part of the community rather than the way things are now.

Come on Tesco – be part of our community rather than just seeing the community as a money mine!

Yours sincerely,

Avery Little

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  1. You can throw Tesco’s inability to control their trolleys into the mix as well. They blight our town when abandoned and eventually end up in ponds/streams/ hedges/roads/gardens care of some of our population. Tesco employees must see these trolleys to and from their place of work but do nothing to have them collected.

    Phoning the store puts you through to a call centre nowhere near Bristol. They are inept at then passing on a request to have abandoned trolleys collected.

    I recently tackled the store manager on this topic who said he would love to see a £1 trolley lock scheme introduced. But he’s done nothing on this and their trolleys will continue to be taken and dumped.

    How many Aldi trolleys do you see dumped? Precisely none and that is because they have a £1 lock which sees everyone of their trolleys returned. Tesco, in their search for ever greater profits, deem themselves above their moral obligation to keep our town free of litter and are happy to see their trolleys being pushed out of the store forever.

    Maybe BSTC could take up this issue?

  2. @Anon-e-mouse – The trolleys do have locking mechanisms on the wheels so that when they are pushed outside the centre one of the wheels locks. This system isn’t perfect as people can break the locks if they really wanted to take the trolleys away. I think a £1 system would be good idea but can’t see it being implemented any time soon as I don’t believe I have ever seen this done in any other Tesco stores around the country.

    Phoning the store will direct you to a centralised call centre, which to be honest is next to useless. If you really want to report abandoned trolleys and make a complaint regarding the issue in Bradley Stoke it’s best to phone Tesco Stores Head Office on 0800 505555 or email at customer.services@tesco.co.uk you are far more likely to get a decent response on the matter.

  3. This Tesco store has been years in the planning, caused unknown amounts of disputes and disruption to members of the community and they still manage to mess it up!! More often than not, I tend to vote with my feet and would rather drive to Cribbs causeway for a big shop than have to hike across the Car park with 2 kids and a bad back, risking life and limb on the horrendously disorganised,dangerous car park. Visibility for drivers is atrocious in every direction, there are nowhere near the amount of trolley parks necessary, hence copious amounts of them dumped everywhere and been blown around in high winds and a ludicrous amount of Disabled spaces that aren’t used and nowhere near enough child spaces!! Why aren’t they dual purpose spaces for Disabled/Baby & Child spaces?? Tree lined avenues may well be aesthetically pleasing but serve absolutely no purpose or practical use as previously mentioned when attempting to get back to your car! There are very few pavements for pedestrians to get safely to and from their cars and it seems they have applied the usual money making technique of cramming as many car park spaces as possible into a small space. If you own an MPV, like myself, they do not fit lengthways into the tiny spaces and mean standing not far from the middle of the road when loading shopping into the boot!! There has been 1 accident up there since it opened and I cannot fathom how many more need to occur before something is done. The other local Tesco stores must be doing a roaring trade, as there is no way of just “popping in” for a few items these days, until you have successfully negotiated the car park aggro and taken a long hike to the store door!!

  4. Don’t see what the fuss is about myself.
    Yes there could be some more trolley parks but the car park has ample spaces, I’ve never had any trouble finding somewhere to park.
    The bus lane isn’t a problem, after all they aren’t travelling along it that frequently.
    It’s a shame people are complaining just because they have to walk a bit a further than they want to get back to their car or leave their trolley in the correct place.
    I don’t resent the disabled spaces. I just consider myself fortunate that I don’t need one.

  5. The thing about the current layout is that there is no “just popping in to tesco”.

    By the time you’ve found a space, unless you go at a wierd hour, you’ve got a walk which usually entails sharing the road space with cars at some point.

    It feels like the design of the car park was given to a industrial year student as their first task. It’s pretty awful.

    I’m also not sure why you have to go around the sun to meet the moon to get into the car park, when there’s another entrance on bradley stoke way. Was this a council requirement, or is this another ploy by tesco to make sure you use their petrol station etc.?

    In order to “just pop into tescos”, it’s actually quicker for me to go to tesco express and fight yet another appallingly bad car park design by bailey’s court. At least I can usually park somewhere near the shop there.

  6. Reading the above comments, yes there are alot of disabled spaces but in my experience of using these for my son they are used, although quite often by lazy people. It actually makes a change to be able to go somewhere be able to park rather where there is only a handful of disabled spaces which are abused as well.
    The car park, however, is sadly an accident waiting to happen. People speed around it. i was trying to use th crossing with my 85 year old father and a car stopped so we could walk across (he is not very fast at walking) and a car actually over took it and drove across the crossing in front of us! Two young ladies obviously in too much of a rush in their lunchtime to get into peacocks!

  7. sorry my point ref disabled spaces are that in this age it appears that people only consider themselves and god help them having to walk a little to get into a shop rather than those who cannot walk far and have a badge for a reason…it doesn’t matter how many disabled spaces a car park allocate they will always be abused

  8. That particular road that runs parallel to boots / shoe shop / pets at home is a bit of a death trap.

    Folks use it far to fast and quite often don’t stop at the pedestrian crossing mid-way along it.

    My wife, daughters, and myself, have nearly been run over on several separate occasions by cars not stopping when we’re crossing. Folks seem to think it is optional for some odd reason.