Friday 10, February 2012
Shock and confusion at Lowry Outlet car park price hike
SHOPPERS at the Lowry Outlet Mall on Salford Quays have been left shocked by a steep rise in car parking fees - despite exterior signs still promoting free parking with any purchase.
The mall has introduced a new ruling that customers need to spend a minimum £5 in the centre to qualify for four hours free parking.
Up until last Wednesday, customers got four hours free with any purchase, such as a 60p bottle of water.
Manchester United fans taking advantage of the previous tariff on match-days has been cited by one shopkeeper as a possible reason for the blanket increase.
She said: "They would buy a small bottle of water on match-days and then walk over the bridge to Old Trafford. It's only a 15-minute walk."
Temporary signs informing customers of the £5 tariff have been placed at ticket entrance barriers and inside the mall, but some shoppers are not aware of the price increase until they come to validate their parking ticket.
The management team at the outlet mall refused to comment on the issue, but it is understood that the outdated signs will be amended next week.
Customer Denise McManus, from Salford, was surprised when she found out that there had been a change in the parking rules. She said: “There should be something to warn you before you enter, there’s nothing that warns you of the changes until you’re in the car park.
"The changes could harm the level of customers here. Why would you pay for parking when there’s The Trafford Centre down the road which has many more shops and offers parking for free?”
Under the previous tariff, the outlet’s newsagents, Newspoint, was where many drivers went to validate their car parking pass by purchasing a cheap item such as a bottle of water.
Newspoint’s Vohra Arif doesn’t think that the changes will affect business. He said: “It’s mostly regular customers who come in, so I’m hoping the changes shouldn’t affect their loyalty.”
He appreciates that some motorists may have previously taken advantage of the ruling by buying the cheapest item possible, but believes that the increase is too large.
“I believe a couple of pounds would be a good amount to compete with other local car parks, but £5 is too much.”
Chris York regularly visits the outlet mall for business meetings, but is looking elsewhere now that he has to spend £5 to park for free. He said: “In the future I’ll be looking for cheaper alternatives or taking the tram.”
By Patrick Davies and Kirsty Allen
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