Gym parking row rumbles on

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Parking bosses have issued guidance to disgruntled motorists who have fallen foul of controversial new charges at a popular Wigan site.

Prior to September this year visitors to the NHS clinic at the DW Sports gym on Stadium Way were not expected to pay for parking.

Those attending the walk-in centre and more likely to be in poor health, older and perhaps disabled are being asked to walk further than those attending the gym and more likely to be in much better shape

Clinic user

But the firm has now imposed charges for non-gym users so spaces can be prioritised for members, sparking fury about the “excessive” costs.

Many visitors to the clinic have been hit with penalty fines and bosses at firm ParkingEye have issued a statement to clarify the rules on the site.

This follows one user complaining about being issued with a £100 fine having paid for a ticket.

However, he was parked in the section of the car park now designated for gym users only.

A ParkingEye spokesman told the Observer: “Patrons of the gym, beauty clinic and hairdresser are able to use the DW Sports Wigan members only car park as detailed on the signage in the car park.

“They can obtain free parking by entering their vehicle registration details into terminals located inside the building upon arrival.

“All other visitors must use the adjacent car park and pay for their parking.

“ParkingEye is a member of the British Parking Association (BPA) and follows its code of practice with respect to signage.

“We encourage people who have received a parking charge to appeal if they think there are mitigating circumstances, and instructions about how to do this are detailed on all communications and on our website.

“If a driver disagrees with our decision, they have the option to appeal to the independent appeals service (Popla).

“In this case the driver did appeal to Popla, who upheld our original decision.”

DW Sports bosses said gym members had complained about difficulty parking at the site, close to the DW Stadium, because non-gym users are taking up the spaces, especially on match days.

A spokesman said consideration had been given to the walk-in centre patients and the charges were in line with Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust’s own parking tariffs.

Similar tariffs are in place at a number of their facilities across the country.

One clinic user, who has received a penalty fine, said there was a degree of irony in the car park layout.

He said: “Those attending the walk-in centre and more likely to be in poor health, older and perhaps disabled are being asked to walk further than those attending the gym and more likely to be in much better shape.”