Withdean Stadium parking

Charges for car parking may affect coach passengers

Coach passengers who are used to parking their cars at Withdean Stadium before boarding our coaches to away games should be aware that charges are about to be introduced.

Members of the Withdean gym, run by Freedom Leisure with operates the Withdean Stadium Complex, have recently received a message outlining the proposals.

In essence, those parking for longer than 3 hours (and not using the venue or the Sportsman pub) will be charged – which implies all those parking for Albion away matches.

When will this happen?

It’s not clear but it appears to be imminent. The message says, “New car parking arrangements are being introduced. … There will be signage and more information at sites during the coming days.”

How much will it be?


How will it be paid?

Unknown – but there has been a move away from machines in Brighton & Hove to pay-by-phone, so that is the likelihood.

How will it be enforced?

The message refers to “Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) introduced to record vehicles entering and leaving the two main car parks”. That implies that there will no one checking tickets from a machine. Presumably, if you don’t pay you will receive a bill through the post for a hefty sum.

When will it apply?

Expect “daily” and probably every day. What that means for late-night returns from away matches is not clear, but we would like to think that charges would allow for this.

Why is this happening?

Withdean Sports Complex is expanding. There are four small-sided 3G all-weather football pitches being installed at the present time, on the site nearest the railway line – where the South Stand turnstiles used to stand during Albion’s sojourn at the venue. (This is currently an overspill car park.) There are also proposals for a new swimming pool near the main gym building.

All this is putting more pressure on car parking. The proposal is meant to protect users of the Withdean facilities by deterring those who would park there and not use the facilities – including Albion fans on our coaches.

But we’re using sustainable transport to get to away games. Surely representations should be made to that effect.

Each car parking space that a travelling Albion fan takes potentially deprives a user of the Withdean facilities, and it is to protect the latter that the scheme is being introduced. We would not be granted any dispensation.

Is there any alternative?

We have used Withdean Stadium as a pick-up point for 25 years or so, attracted by the free parking on a good route for our coaches. Where else might we enjoy such a facility? The Amex Stadium perhaps? It’s used by other coach operators but would add another 25 minutes to our journey at least and is therefore not really useful.

Our current route uses King George VI Avenue (“Snakey Hill”) from Court Farm Road, then Dyke Road briefly and down Valley Drive to Tongdean Lane and Withdean. Then under the railway bridge and along London Road to Patcham.

It’s possible we could provide additional stops en route, say at the top of Valley Drive (Whitethorn Drive) or in London Road (The Deneway) if these were convenient for passengers. But this is supposed to be an express service, not an all-stops route – at least on the way out!

There is also free parking in the roads near to Withdean Stadium itself. However, if the area comes under parking pressure, the almost inevitable consequence will be a residents’ parking zone.

If you have any suggestions on this matter, please use the Contact form and let us know. All sensible suggestions will be considered.

Can the Supporters’ Club subsidise any car-parking fees?

That would not seem to be a good use of Supporters’ Club funds with the new measures affecting only a small minority of members.

Tim Carder, Acting Travel Organiser