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Tycoon renews war on Heathrow’s ‘extortionate’ parking

Billionaire tycoon poised to renew fight to offer cut-price parking at Heathrow to challenge airport’s ‘extortionate’ prices

A billionaire tycoon is poised to renew his fight to offer cut-price parking at Heathrow to challenge the airport’s ‘extortionate’ prices. 

Surinder Arora wants to double the size of his multi-storey car park on the south side of the airport to more than 2,000 spaces. It can currently only be used by airport workers, but Arora is fighting for permission to open it to the public. 

If he is successful, he will charge half Heathrow’s rates. Its long-stay parking costs £38.20 at peak times for the first day, and £30.50 for each additional day. Gatwick charges £25 on the first day, then £20 a day. 

Big plans: Surinder Arora wants to double the size of his multi-storey car park to more than 2,000 spaces

Last week, Heathrow said it would introduce a £5 forecourt access fee from November to help recoup Covid losses. It said the fee per car for drop-offs would encourage passengers to use public transport. 

Arora, who runs six hotels at Heathrow, applied to build a nine-storey car park in 2015 but the planning application was blocked, and he had to settle for a scaled-back option, not for use by the public. 

To get his original plans through he filed a legal claim against Heathrow Airport and Hillingdon Council in 2018. The case has been on hold over the pandemic, but Arora now expects to be given a date for the hearing next year. 

Carlton Brown, chief financial officer at Arora Group, said: ‘Heathrow’s car parking is double where it should be. We want to offer customers a better deal and more choice.’ 

Heathrow said its parking charges were not regulated and it was free to set its own prices. It added that Hillingdon Council denied Arora’s application as the cap on car parking spaces at Heathrow had been reached, and said it had no ability to block planning applications. 

Arora also wrote to Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye this summer about the airport doubling charges for water and sewerage at two hotels. It is weighing up a legal challenge against the bills or referring the issue to the Competition and Markets Authority.

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