RESIDENTS in streets around Westfield Miranda are fuming that their area has been "parked out" since car park charges were introduced at the shopping centre.
Any relief that will come from the departure of tradesmen — and many will be there until at least the middle of next year — will be offset by an expected big increase in parking by staff working in shops and other businesses in the centre.
Centre staff, but not contractors, were given free internal parking in designated bays for the first six months of the new system.
But from May next year they will get only the first 4½ hours free, and will be charged a flat rate of $5 beyond that.
The arrangement was a development consent condition imposed by the Land and Environment Court after negotiations between Westfield and Sutherland Shire Council.
Many shoppers and centre staff are already reported to be leaving their cars in nearby streets.
Christmas will be "crunch time" because there has always been greater use of outside parking at this time, even when it was free inside.
Sutherland Shire Council denied rumours it was considering introducing parking meters around the centre.
It was non-committal on whether a residents' parking scheme, with timed parking for non-residents, could be introduced.
"Council has received complaints and it is evident that parking in streets surrounding Westfield has expanded," a spokeswoman said.
"However, many of these vehicles belong to tradesmen and other workers still involved with completion of construction works and fitting out of the new shops.
"Council will be in a better position to assess the matter once all construction works are completed and staff and commuter parking patterns have had time to properly re-establish themselves."
This could take until about August next year, she said.
Miranda MP Barry Collier said he had heard "on the grapevine" a council parking officer had told a resident of the parking meters plan.
Mr Collier said streets as far away as The Boulevarde were "parked out" while the area between the centre and Sutherland Hospital was being filled with cars from both ends.
He said section 94 contributions paid by Westfield and state government support should address the problem.
KRISTIE and Matthew Phillips cannot believe what has happened to their previously quiet cul-de-sac.
Three years ago they brought a home in Kumbardang Avenue, which runs off Kiora Road, near the Five Ways.
‘‘Since Westfield began charging, there is no parking available in our street from 8am to 6pm,’’ Mr Phillips said. ‘‘There are some work ‘utes’, but mostly cars driven by shop people in uniforms.
‘‘We have two cars, so one has to be on the street, and it’s annoying to have a long day at work and get home to find there is nowhere to park.
‘‘I called the council but was told there was nothing they could do about it.’’
JO-ANN Beazley of Sylvania was shocked when she received a mobile phone text message from Westfield Miranda advising her three hours of free parking would soon be up.
The reason for the shock was Ms Beazley was at work — and had not even been
to the shopping complex that day.
‘‘I had registered my licence plate with Westfield and linked it to my credit card, so I was worried they would deduct a big parking fee,’’ she said.
‘‘I was thinking, ‘How can I prove I wasn’t there?’ ’’
When Ms Beazley called Westfield, she was told there had been ‘‘some hiccups’’ with the system, and they were aware of the error involving her car.
‘‘They said the sun may have been shining on a car’s number plate and only picked up part of it but they established it wasn’t mine,’’ she said.
‘‘Why couldn’t they have sent me a follow-up text advising me of the error which would have saved us all time and money?’’
The Leader referred Ms Beasley’s case to Westfield and asked if there had been many similar problems?
Westfield regional manager Kate Holsgrove replied, ‘‘The parking SMS facility is the first of its kind and as with any new technology you can expect to take learnings and in this instance an SMS was sent in error which has been now been reviewed and rectified’’.
‘‘Overall our customers at Miranda are really enjoying the benefits of our parking registration,’’ she said.
Has your street been affected by Westfield parking charges?