Free parking perk to stay

Wigan North Western Station car park
Wigan North Western Station car park

A period of free parking at one of Wigan’s busiest commuter hubs remains in place after fears voiced that it had been axed by train bosses proved groundless.

It had been claimed the 20-minute grace period at the multi-storey car park at Wigan North Western (WNW) station had been stopped.

This would have meant visitors using the facility to pick up passengers from the West Coast mainline station would have to pay the £12 daily rate.

But transport bosses today reassured residents the short-term free parking period remains in place.

A statement from Virgin Trains, which operates the NCP site next to the station, issued to the Evening Post said the tariff remains “as it always has been.”

Residents had contacted the paper to inquire as to whether the policy had changed, having been charged the £12 rate for short visits to pick up passengers disembarking at Wigan. They have been advised to go through the parking ticket appeals process if they believe the charge was unwarranted, given the short-stay tariff remains in place.

Parking provision at North Western - one of the town centre’s two railway stations along with Wallgate - may become a pressing issue in the coming years given recent announcements regarding HS2.

WNW is set to become an integrated HS2 station, meaning journey times to London would be cut to 82 minutes, a Government report said last year. The arrival of high speed rail would be a “watershed” moment for Wigan and its economy, it adds.

Ahead of HS2 routes being finalised - which may take decades before completion - the town hall last year unveiled provisional plans to link Wallgate and WNW.

Karl Battersby, director of economy and environment, said: “We’re at very early stages, but we want to see how to better align the stations.

“We want to work with Transport for Greater Manchester to see what we can do and this could be aligned with HS2.

“We’re looking to make it feel like one destination for rail. The distance between our two stations is less than the distance between the inner and outer platforms at Manchester Piccadilly, for example, so we’ll be looking at ways we can make it feel like one facility.”