THE management of one of the town centre’s biggest car parks has made a dramatic u-turn after almost doubling its prices.
Visitors had threatened a parking boycott at the Grand Arcade in the face of being forced to pay a minimum rate of £4.80.
But bosses at APCOA parking have staged a dramatic U-turn meaning the previous £2.80 charge for a two-hour stay has been reinstated.
The initial announcement yesterday (Thursday) was that the change would be temporary until talks between the Grand Arcade and APCOA took place. However, a spokesman for the car park management firm later confirmed to the Evening Post the return of the previous prices would be permanent.
A statement from the company said: “Following the removal of the two-hour tariff band, we were pleased to be in a position to act swiftly and respond to customer concerns to reinstate the first tariff band.
“We do our utmost to ensure that all tariffs remain competitive, so that customers can continue to benefit from the convenience and safer parking available at the Grand Arcade.”
Grand Arcade management had earlier this week vowed to fight the new charges and were taking legal advice on whether the parking company had breached the terms of its lease.
A spokesman for Redefine, the Grand Arcade’s management company, said talks were due to take place between the two parties but they were pleased the previous tariffs had returned.
Chris Brown was one of the shocked shoppers hit with the new charges on Monday morning.
The 24-year-old from Ashton said: “I used to think the previous price for a short stay was quite expensive but this is extortionate.
“I was at the pay machine and there were other shoppers amazed at how much it is. And this isn’t the first time the prices have gone up. I usually use this car park quite often but won’t be from now on.”
Maureen O’Malley, 67, from Ince added: “What annoys me is that you don’t know how much you are going to have to pay until you get inside the car park and then there’s no going back. You have to pay to get out.
“If I was a first-time visitor to Wigan and found myself inside this carpark with £4.80 to pay for a half-hour stay, I’d never come back.”
The APCOA spokesman added: “Decisions relating to the Grand Arcade are based on a number of factors, but principally the commercial viability of the car park. As the management company for the facility, we welcome constructive customer feedback that we can share with our key stakeholders.”