Matchday parking restrictions could cost Charlton Athletic £1 million in lost support from fans no longer able to drive to games, the club’s main fans’ group has estimated.
Greenwich Council wants to stop fans parking in most streets near The Valley until 9pm on all matchdays – even though attendances have fallen in recent years with the club relegated to League One.
The club has already asked the council to reconsider the plans, and suggested fans respond to a consultation that runs until next week.
The Charlton Athletic Supporters Trust (CAST) said that of the 1,375 fans that responded to a survey about the plans, 41 per cent strongly agreed that the clampdown would make it less likely that they would attend matches.
CAST said that even if only half of those decided to stop attending, that would mean 2,250 supporters not going to matches any more – costing the club £1 million per season. Based on Charlton’s most recent accounts, that would represent about a fifth of matchday income.
The club’s support is dispersed across a wide area, with the CAST survey finding that 34 per cent came from Kent, where public transport is slow and expensive, while only 11 per cent came from the borough of Greenwich, where options are better. The neighbouring boroughs of Bexley, Bromley and Lewisham accounted for 25 per cent of support.
Some 35 per cent travelled for between one or two hours to get to matches.
One fan said: “Public transport would involve taxis to and from Dartford – adding around £25 – as a bus runs one per hour from where we live, is often late or cancelled, and doesn’t run at all outside of daytime hours to get home.
“The alternative is a train via Bromley with three changes, or out to Rochester and back, both of which are too much hassle to want to do regularly.”
Another respondent said: “Our car with four supporters to and from The Valley – £12 outlay in petrol versus train to London Bridge, then Charlton and return – £71! No brainer.”
“As a female who travels to and from games alone, I don’t want to walk to my car down quiet, leafy streets or through a park or over a common on my own after dark,” said another fan.
Others said they travelled with very young children or infirm relatives who would struggle with a longer walk or a complicated public transport trip.
The trust’s secretary, Richard Wiseman, has previously branded the plans “disproportionate”.
Earlier this week, the club’s managing director, James Rodwell, urged fans to contribute to the consultation, saying: “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.”
Details of the plans and how to respond to them can be found at parkingingreenwich.commonplace.is.