Shoppers’ threat to boycott shops after parking hike in east Leeds

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Customers at a shopping centre in east Leeds say they may boycott shops after parking charges have gone up.

A new minimum charge of £1.20 has been introduced at the Crossgates Shopping Centre, for entering the car park and staying up to two hours.

Shopper Les Marshall, 70, who parks there three times a week to shop at Wilkinson’s and food stores, said: “It used to be 80p to park, then it was increased to £1, now an extra 20 pence. It isn’t the cost that bothers me, it is the principle, The motorist should not have to pay to park, while supporting the local businesses in the centre.

“It is outrageous that we should pay to park, when we are spending in the shops. On Facebook and other sites, people are talking about ‘boycotting’ the Crossgates Centre due to the parking cost, I will gladly join them.”

Charges were originally introduced after train passengers would leave their cars all day in the car park while they went to work.

Mr Marshall added: “The nearby Tesco shopping area at Seacroft is free to park. The last time I did some shopping at the Headingley Arndale, there was no charge.

“But because the Crossgates Centre is adjacent the train station, shoppers have to pay to park. I worked on the building of the Crossgates Centre, and I have supported the local shops, two or three times, each week for decades.”

A statement from the Crossgates Shopping Centre today explained that the centre has reluctantly raised its car park charges due to increased maintenance costs over the last number of years.

It reads: “Previously the Centre had absorbed any increases it needs to sustain an effective service but unfortunately with increased costs of maintaining the car park and its equipment it is with reluctance that it is necessary to now pass on some of these costs.

“To help reduce the impact to our customers we phased the increase over 2 years with a small increase in April 2013 and a further increase of 10p per hour (based on the average stay of two hours) in October 2014.

“Crossgates parking charges are considerably lower than average for the area with the Merrion Centre charging £2.20 for 1 hour, the Centre still offers good value at £1.20 for two hours.

Manager Kevin Gwilliam said: “We pride ourselves on offering a first class service and shopping experience, and we will continue to offer parking that the majority of our customers feel is value for money. Furthermore, we have listened to our tenants and shoppers and with the increase in number of customers visiting on a Sunday and Bank Holidays we have reduced parking costs to 50p per hour.”