Charity fears for future

Mersnes Terrace Car Park
Mersnes Terrace Car Park
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A DISABLED shoppers charity is today fearing for its future.

Shopmobility currently operate from the Mesnes Terrace multi-storey car park which is being sold to the NHS as a money generating move by cash-strapped Wigan Council.

But four months after the ‘Wigan Evening Post’ highlighted the negotiations, the organisation - which provides electric buggies for customers unable to physically walk around the town centre - has yet to receive assurances it will be given a new base from which to operate.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) NHS Trust wants the car park to use it for staff and to operate a park and ride for visitors to solve the long-standing parking problems at Wigan Infirmary.

ue to the Government cuts this year, the council could now be set to town another spanner in the works

Chairman of Shopmobility Adrian Hardy said: “This car park is an ideal spot for our users. It is close to the town centre, especially the market area where many of our clients love to shop.

“It’s also not as congested as other car parks are and is ideal for those people who come to us using the Ring and Ride service which stops at our door.”

He said that the council was willing to discuss alternative locations, but so far Shopmobility has not been told where these might be.

A spokesman for WWL NHS Trust said: “The Trust acknowledges that access and car parking for patients and visitors at all of its sites, especially Wigan Infirmary, is a high priority.

“In recognition of the importance placed upon our patient experience we are continually exploring ways in which patient and visitor car parking can be improved.

“Initial discussions with Wigan Council about how the Trust and council can work collaboratively to improve car parking are proceeding.

“We are hoping that this potential development will lead to car parking improvements and enable us to re-assign spaces currently used by staff on the Wigan Infirmary site for patient and visitor use.”

In a report about the sale of the car park, town hall corporate director (places) Gillian Bishop pledged that the negotiations would include the future of the Shopmobility facility.

Last year independent consultants reported that the Mesnes Terrace car park was “not popular with visitors” to the town centre.