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British Home Stores managers like parking in Arras Square

31 Dec

I spoke to one of the managers at the Ipswich branch of BHS today about their parking in Arras Square. He explained that they had discussed the issue with head office who said that it was fine for them to continue to park in the square which they intend to do. They are legally allowed to do so because they own the area immediately outside the store where they park. Indeed they complain if anyone else parks there. As such we can see plenty more of this.

Managers’ cars

More manager’s cars

Neat parking by a BHS manager!

The regional manager’s car

Both managers block the seating today!

BHS vans blocking the seating in the square

Clearly BHS have not used their van for some time!

BHS owned vehicles:

  • Audi AV55WDE
  • Renault Clio AY10WHH
  • VW Passat AX59FZE
  • Van KV58NPF
  • Another van AD53PFX

I discovered recently that BHS is owned by a certain Philip Green, the 9th richest person in the UK who is unfortunately pretty good at avoiding paying UK tax, £300m by one estimate. This makes it strange that the government has recently appointed him to oversee the goverment’s spending cuts. This may be why some of Philip Greens’s other shops, including TopShop, have recently been targeted by Uncut who argue that if corporations paid tax properly then the need for cuts would be greatly reduced. Philip Green says the accusations are ‘outrageous’.

one parking space = a house!

29 Dec

In Aldeburgh there is this remarkable house which fits in little more than a single parking bay in a car park! Here it is from the ground:

A small house!

And from above:

Aldeburgh house from above

It was apparently offered for sale for £250,000 recently. Amazing what one can be in such a small space. Michael Hartman of Car Walking fame has more recently taken to illegally building huts in road junctions in Germany to highlight the uses that can be made of space needed to park a single car.

Arras Square – the sequel

17 Dec

I blogged recently about Arras Square which is in the heart of Ipswich and is named in memory of the 150,000 British soldiers who died near Arras in WW1. It has recently become a car and lorry park for much of the day. The borough Council said that it was ‘complicated’ but that they would get back when they had time.

On investigation it seems to be reasonably simple. The following people, who park here on a regular basis, should possibly review their decision. Either that or their employers should do so for them and in one case is the Borough Council!

Tourist Information Office

The tourist information office which is run by Ipswich Borough Council operates from the 15th Century St Stephen’s church which is to one side of the square. It turns out that the manager has been parking her car just by the front entrance to the centre for over a decade without a ticket or any special permit! I will ask the council if they might like to review this policy and ask their staff to park elsewhere, because there is no shortage of parking available at modest prices in the town. I will be emailing IBC about this very soon.

Old car outside older church

British Home stores

Both the manager and the regional manager for the Ipswich branch of BHS use the square as a convenient place to park. The manager is at the store nearly every day, the regional manager comes less often, but was there today. BHS claim to offer ‘Modern Living Made Easy’, well life is certainly simple for their management. Tom, who is one of their managers at the store explained how it worked and said he understood my position. Isn’t to great to see how the perks mount up. Most staff can’t afford fancy cars and even have to ‘walk’ to the store, imagine that! The manager can afford a small fast car and can park right outside the door and the regional manager not only gets a bigger shiny car but also gets to park it in a setting just like in the advertisements! Needless to say I will be emailing BHS and will let you know what happens.

The manager’s car

The regional manager’s car

An independent clothes shop

Merc, is a smaller clothes retailer with four outlets in the UK. The local manager said that he would stop parking in the square if everyone else stops and that he would much prefer the square to be available for a market or something. Of course today his car was one of the only ones in the square for much of the time! Again I will be emailing the company to see if we can make his vision into a reality!

Car belonging to the manager of Merc (a clothes shop)


It turns out that the main shopping street only allows deliveries during restricted hours, however big vans and trucks can use this square at any time. As so when ‘Memorable Cheeses’ need an urgent delivery of chocolate as they did today then the big van parks here and heads into the main pedestrian area. I have to say that Memorable Cheeses are very memorable and we have bought a lot of cheese from them over the years and judging by the size of the van they must now have a huge supply of chocolate! There seems to be some interest locally in restricting the hours of delivery in this square and there is certainly significant disruption caused by these large vehicles will appear every 10 mins or so.

dp express ‘versatile logistics’ delivering urgent supplies of chocolate!

A memorable cheese shop!

TNT delivering to DHS

Selling cars

And it gets worse. As well as littering the square outside the Buttermarket these little blighters even turn up inside! Here are a couple of charming little cars on display inside.

Buy a new car today!

But don’t worry, the company does support ‘Motability’!

Supporting motability

Cycle parking

It is good to know however that the Borough also provides high quality modern secure storage for bicycles. Not sure what happened to their plans to upgrade these where the local cycle group were consulted on the matter a few years ago, but hey ho, we can’t have everything.

High quality modern facilities for bicycles!

Needless to say I will be writing to the Borough Council and to BHS and will keep people posted on what happens.

Where does the highway end…

16 Dec

It is sometimes hard to see where the highway ends and where private property starts. This example was brought to my attention by a comment left on an earlier post by someone living nearby. On investigation it turns out that the shopkeeper owns the land right up to the service road and has therefore done what he wanted with it, which in this case was to install car parking even though it is a cycle shop! Children duck into the carriageway, but who knows what a blind person would make of it. The second photo shows that what is presumably the official footway is blocked by an advertising sign although no one would use that narrow path given that there is a perfectly good footway outside all of the rest of the shops.

Cycle Revolution 1

Cycle Revolution

And then there is my local electrical shop. The owner isn’t doing anything illegal by leaving his car on his land but it does create an odd impression – hardly welcoming and very difficult for someone with poor sight.

Owners car blocking entrance

The final picture of Arras Square in Ipswich which has a sign at the entrance which reads ‘No Vehicles’ but which is always full of parked cars about which I posted about a week ago. I have finally got an initial response back from the Borough Council which reads: “Thank you for your email. The position in Arras Square is very complex with several owners and leases involved and only part of the area being highway”. So here we go again! However… in all cases I think the shopkeepers can be encouraged to keep the area clear, especially if they are chain stores with a brand to maintain.

Nice bench, shame about the parking!

No vehicles at any time. Well… except for these vehicles

8 Dec

The signage at the bottom of St Stephens Lane leading to Arras Sq in Ipswich could not be clearer. ‘No vehicles at any time except for loading’

I have been keeping an eye on the place for a few months because there seems to be no enforcement and I noticed that many of the same cars parked there every day all day. Yesterday I was there in mid morning when all the usual cars were joined by people actually delivering which were causing a serious problem:

Almost impassable

Arras Sq 2

Arras Sq 3

Arras Sq 5

Some of the vehicles are genuinely ‘loading/unloading’ however many are not. One owner who came out of his shop and asked me why I had taken a photo of his car was good enough to say that he would support me in clearing the square of his and other people’s cars so that ‘they could have a market of something’. He explained that other shop keepers had told him it was fine to park there!

Incidentally the square is named in memory of the 150,000 British soldiers who died near Arras in WW1 including men from four Suffolk battalions. At one time 25,000 soliders were billeted right under the noses of the Germans in caves under the city virtually under the German lines. The caves opened the public in 2008 and are well worth visiting.

Just to show that this isn’t a one-off. Here is the same red car using the same spot back in March 2010. And… if it you look carefully it was also there when the Google streetview car passed the end of the street!

The same car using the same spot nine months ago in March 2010

Nice bench, shame that no one can use it.

Nice bench, shame about the car

Ironically, one of the worst offenders, was the manager at ‘Black Sheep’ which has subsequently closed I am please to say. I have some video of hundreds of people having to negotiate her car one day when she parked it in an even worse position. It is amazing that owners of shops put their own convenience about that of their customers.

A black sheep?

As always I will press my local authority to do something about this.


After a week without any response I sent a reminder email and got this reponse by return: “Thank you for your email. The position in Arras Square is very complex with several owners and leases involved and only part of the area being highway. I have passed your enquiry to my colleague [name removed] who will answer you as soon as he is able to do so”. The ‘as soon as he is able to’ bit doesn’t sound too promising reallly.