Staffordshire University has faced backlash this week from angry students who have been unable to park their cars due to an event hosted by the university at their Leek Road Campus.
The event, which took place on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th October, resulted in car parks being cordoned off for visitors, and other car parks operated a one in, one out policy.
Annabel Fallows, who commutes to the university daily from Whiston, said, “I pay £60 a year to park on the university car park.
“Recently, I have discovered that there are not always enough spaces in the main car parks and must drive around for quite some time to find a space or wait for someone else to leave the car park.
She added “Not all cars have permit stickers in the windows and the barriers are never down meaning anyone can use the car parks and are not penalised. I feel a bit cheated that I am paying for a service that is not being provided and that the university are cordoning off prime car parking for an event that doesn’t relate to me as a uni student.
“The offer of parking for free at Fenton Manor Car Park seems unfair when I have paid for a university car park and the walk is a mile away.”
Some students have missed lectures due to sitting in queues for up to two hours.
One Staffordshire University student, who does not wish to be named, commented on the chaos, “I deliberately don’t buy a permit because it’s always been like this.
“When you speak to people they tell you it’s been a problem for years. They are obviously selling more permits than there is spaces.”
The student further suggested that, “The university needs to invest in more car parks. It’s been needed for a long time.”
Earlier this year, the university withdrew from their lease agreement with Winton Square, which faces Stoke-on-Trent Train Station.
As of Monday 22nd January 2018, the Winton Square and Henrion car parks were permanently shut to Staffordshire University staff, students and visitors.
Student Sarah Ellesmore commented that, “It’s not too bad if you get here early in the morning but if you’re coming for an afternoon class mid-day Monday, you could waste an hour looking for parking.”
Another student, Clare Edwards, who studies at Cauldon College but buys a permit for the university car parks said that, “On a Friday parking is okay if you get here really early.
“On Mondays I don’t even bother parking here. I park at the Cauldon campus and walk down because I don’t want to deal with the parking.”
Staffordshire University responded to the comments via the Alerts area in their MyStaffs phone app on Thursday 4th October.
The messages read, “We know that some students have had difficulty parking today at the Stoke campus due to the number of cars on site and the community event taking place in the LRV.
“We understand the frustration of looking for a space but there are usually spaces available on car park 1, Clarice Cliff car park and the overspill parking at Fenton Manor Sports Centre (free to use with your student permit). From past experience, demands on parking usually reduce over October as new students settle into their timetables.”
A spokesperson for the university also released a statement to StaffsLive earlier today, “We often have issues in September/October as new students settle in to their courses and familiarise themselves with our on-campus car parking.
“We would like to remind students that we have car parking near our Clarice Cliff Halls of Residence, accessible from Lordship Lane, and students and staff displaying a valid permit in their vehicles are also permitted to use the car parks at nearby Fenton Manor.”
The university also included a link that students could follow to learn more about campus parking: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/support_depts/environment/travel/car/Parking_FAQs.jsp.