A SHOCK rise in parking fees at a town’s retail centre has left shoppers reeling.
Visitors to Eagles Meadow in Wrexham have found themselves facing a near-25 per cent increase in parking charges set by Vinci, the company which runs the car park.
The cost of a two-hour stay has risen from £2.50 to £3.10 and people parking for more than four hours will have to pay £8.70, up from £7.
It is the second increase in about nine months at the 1,000-space multi-storey car park.
Prices went up last October by about 30 per cent.
Shoppers have registered their disgust at the latest rise, stating the lure of free parking at shopping parks elsewhere could drive people out of town.
They also said the increase came out of the blue, while Wrexham’s town centre manager said he was only notified on Friday about Monday’s rise.
Shopper Damien Tobin said: “I’ll be avoiding Eagles Meadow from now on. Not a chance I’m paying that.
“[I’d] rather go to Broughton or Cheshire Oaks.”
Nigel Torrens added: “Total rip-off. How do they expect people to shop there with parking charges like that.”
Also unhappy, was Jan Williams, who said: “It’s a complete rip-off. I stopped parking there the last time it increased.
“It costs enough to take your children to Odeon/Tenpin. Why should you be ripped off as well? I would rather go to Broughton, Cheshire Oaks, Sealand Road, Trafford Centre. All free to park and much more on offer.”
Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre manager Kevin Critchley said the increase had been coming, but he was concerned at how steep it was.
He said: “Months ago Vinci informed us they were looking to increase its pricing structure, but they only informed us on Friday about what was happening on Monday, which didn’t give us much time to contact people.
“I haven’t had a chance to speak to retailers yet, but I’m sure they will be speaking to their regional managers and head offices about it.“Of course I’m worried it might put people off shopping here and we’re concerned they have gone up by such a huge amount, but basically Vinci have said its rates have gone up so they are increasing prices.
“Vinci is a separate business and what it decides to do with its prices is far beyond our control. Its revenue depends on the car park being used and if people don’t use it, Vinci won’t get any money.”
Mr Critchley added that he believed the centre could weather the price increase.
He said: “It’s not the only car park in Wrexham and what we’re offering hasn’t changed.
“The new Clark’s store is opening soon, we’ve got restaurants, bowling, a cinema and are still only at the end of town.”
The latest rise comes five months after Wrexham Council increased charges at its car parks.
Prices went up at the Library, Market Street, St George’s Crescent, St Giles, Waterworld, People’s Market and Crescent Road car parks.
The move saw the price of one hour’s parking rise from 60p to £1, between one hour and two hours from £1.20 to £1.50 and the evening charge increased from 50p to £1.
The free parking at the People’s Market and Crescent Road car parks – which before February was available from noon – was moved to the later time of 3pm.