At the scrutiny meeting last Thursday we finally found out how well the new car park in Hambrough Road, Southall is doing. In short it is a whopping disaster. The photo above was taken by me on Friday 20th January at 4:04pm. It shows two vehicles parked in the 45 spaces provided at a cost of Â£70,000.
This is a valuable site,Â owned by the council and very large, it could easily accommodate 8 good sized family homes of the style of those already in the neighbourhood. It is worth some millions of Pounds on the open market since it is nearÂ corporate office headquartersÂ of many businesses â€“ I am not a property expert to give you a valuation. It is temporarily being used as a car park and will probably end up being a small residential development eventually. This car park would have cost a lot more if the land had to be purchased to provide it. All the council has done is demolish the old Disraeli Nursery that was on the site, level it, cover it in tarmac, put in some signs and lines and a height restriction hence the relatively small bill of Â£70K. Learn more from BaltimorePavingPros.com on high quality parking lots.
I have asked twice for information on the takings for this car park and have been refused twice. At the meeting we were told the takings at this car park for January (Â£329) and February (Â£633). The car park is so far south down Hambrough Road it is not attracting customers who want to access the shops. There are plenty of empty spaces much nearer to the Broadway.
If you were doing this as a commercial venture you might want a minimum return on capital of 5% on your investment of Â£2 million say (anyone care to speculate on what 1,563 sqm of Southall residential is worth?). You would need to make a net profit after all of your expenses and corporation tax at 21% tax of Â£100K per annum to make it worthwhile. Right now the gross income of this site is well shy of Â£12K per annum.
One reason that the Hambrough Road car park is so unsuccessful is that the parking service and the portfolio holder are overly enamoured of pay by phone. Many drivers still donâ€™t trust this style of technology. Putting in pay and display machines is expensive. They cost Â£8K each to install and Â£27 per month to maintain and give you all sorts of headaches around collecting cash and dealing with thefts.
If the council does go ahead with the full-sized, permanent car park they will have good evidence from this temporary car park that it is not viable before they even start.