Charlton Athletic have urged Greenwich Council to rethink its plans to introduce new parking controls around The Valley, which would mean only permit holders being allowed to park before 9pm on matchdays.
The plans emerged earlier this month after Greenwich confirmed plans to extend restrictions to several new streets in the Charlton area, stopping free parking until 6.30pm on Mondays to Saturdays. The council has begun a new consultation which would clamp down on parking in those streets until late in the evening on any day a match is on.
Much of Charlton’s support comes from north Kent, from where public transport options can be poor, particularly in the evening. Many fans have warned they will no longer be able to attend matches if the new curbs come in.
The Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust has already called the changes “disproportionate”. More than a thousand fans have responded to its survey on the issue.
Two decades ago The Valley regularly hosted 27,000 fans when the team were in the Premier League, But relegation to League One and a succession of bad owners have led to most crowds being half that at best. Charlton were bought during the summer by Global Football Partners, which is looking to stabilise the club after a turbulent recent history.
James Rodwell, Charlton’s managing director, told the club’s website: “We know this is an important topic for many of our supporters and that the changes proposed would have an impact on how accessible Charlton games are for some of our fans.
“We have been in communication with the council and advised them that many fans use public transport, the well-established Valley Express coach service and bikes to get to games but that some fans won’t be able to get to games if there isn’t the option to park near the stadium.
“We fully understand and have sympathy for the council’s drive to make Greenwich as eco-friendly as possible, however this needs to be balanced with the desire to help local business such as ours operate and flourish.
“We have asked the council to reconsider the conditions and will work with the council, local businesses, our neighbours and our supporters through the consultation process.”
Greenwich has previously stated that it plans to operate controlled parking zones across the whole borough, although that does not mean all streets will need parking permits.
More details can be found at parkingingreenwich.commonplace.is.