The search has been launched to find Wigan’s best and worst car park.
John Carter, owner of local vehicle paint specialist Revive! Wigan, had the idea for the awards following a marked increase in the number of customer cars with car park-related damage he has been asked to repair.
The best car park is well lit, should have clear lines and directions for drivers, ample turning spaces - especially for getting up those ramps to the next tier without ripping your bodywork on a pillar or crash barrier! - and have a good amount of room within the parking space itself to allow the occupants to get in and out without bashing the vehicles parked next to them.
John said: “Car park damage is one of the most common causes of the scuffs and scrapes I see.
“I thought it would be a good idea to have a closer look at parking facilities within the area.
“There are awards for car park security and safety but none for the parking experience itself.
“We want to recognise those car parks that have got it right and highlight ones that could do better.”
Research by the AA shows that over 50 per cent of motorists on the road are driving around with some form of minor bodywork damage to either wheels or paintwork, a lot of which is caused by trying to squeeze into tight parking bays, navigate tight spirals or being damaged by inconsiderate other drivers parking too close.
Damage to doors tops the league of car park damage (50 per cent) followed by bumpers (14) and wings (13).
Revive! has also noticed a rise in the number of alloy wheels being repaired as a result of scraping posts or kerbs.
While some car parks are purpose-built, many have been converted from other buildings or set up on waste land.
Older car parks were designed in the days when cars were much smaller, and today’s cars struggle to fit within the narrow bays.
Tight angles, low perimeter walls and concrete or steel pillars all make parking difficult for drivers and a significant amount of paintwork damage is caused by other motorists opening doors out onto adjacent vehicles and trying to squeeze through to get out.
Several of Wigan’s multi-storey car parks were built in the 1980s and, most will admit, have seen better days and are not the most spacious of their type.
There are also several council-run car parks dotted around the town at ground level.
The multi-storey in the Grand Aracade is more recent and much roomier but, as shoppers will know, the prices are higher, so to an extent you gets what you pay for.
And there appears not to be a value-for-money section of the competition!
To nominate a car park for the best or worst award visit https://revive-uk.com/carparkawards/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the car park, its address, and the reason which compelled you to nominate.
Judging is taking place up and down the country during June, and the winners from each town will be put forward to regional finals.
The top three best and worst car parks in the country will be named in September.