Sadness over Wigan park rules
Pensioners James and Gwendoline Parr love to visit Mesnes Park.
Gwendoline, 77, from Westhoughton used to pick her husband up from his nursing home in Scholes and take him to the town centre beauty spot for some time together.
But now the couple have been left distraught after an employee told them they were not allowed to use the parking spaces inside the park.
The elderly couple used to regularly visit, parking next to the cafe pavilion until Gwendoline was told it was for staff only.
Now, Gwendoline says she might not be able to take her 78-year-old husband there again, as he cannot walk into the park from outside, and she also cannot set up his wheelchair by herself and push him in.
“We can’t park up there at all. I don’t think it’s right, I think that’s discrimination. It surprises me in this day and age,” said Gwendoline.
She added: “I had gone on my own with him, assuming I could park there, but a young woman said we can’t unless you work there. So we just haven’t been able to go since.
“It’s a shame because I take him out whenever I can. It was handy to go to Mesnes Park because we would park near that cafe, then get him into his wheelchair and push him around the park.”
A council spokesman revealed that parking restrictions were in place in order to protect pedestrians and children within the park.
Mark Tilley, assistant director for infrastructure said: “The private parking facilities within the grounds of Mesnes Park are for staff and employees of the pavilion only. This restriction allows us to manage the amount of traffic flow into the park and to minimise vehicle activity in a bid to protect pedestrians and children who use the park on foot.
“We want people to be able to enjoy the park and this is why we have lots of accessible parking around Mesnes Park including a designated disabled bay adjacent to the park gate entrance on Parsons Walk, with space for approximately five vehicles.
“The other park entrance on Parsons Walk has double yellow line restrictions at either side of the gate, therefore disabled badge holders are allowed to park on that restriction, in accordance with the blue badge scheme for up to three hours.
“These are the facilities in close proximity to all park entrances to accommodate all users of the park.”