Leisure centre users hit by £100 fines

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A ROW has erupted after users to Chorley’s main leisure centre returned to their cars and found they’d been given £100 parking tickets.

The car park for All Seasons Leisure Centre on Water Street is regularly packed at peak times, forcing visitors to use an adjoining car park for Curry’s and Carpet Right.

Motorists say there hasn’t been a major problem until recently when parking wardens stepped up patrols on the car park outside Curry’s and Carpet Right and started slapping patrons of the leisure centre with £100 fines.

Martin Horton, from Chorley, went to the centre on Monday to play squash and saw an attendant handing out a clutch of tickets. He said: “I went down about 6,15pm and the car park is always rammed at the centre.

“People tend to park around the sides and I normally park on the car parks for Curry’s and Carpet Right because they close at 6pm anyway.

“As I was coming in, I saw someone in a fluorescent vest putting tickets on windscreens. I saw my friend’s car, who I was playing squash with, so I went to warn him. He came out and there was a ticket for £100 on.”

The car park is privately owned by a company which rents out units to the businesses, and is patrolled by Central Ticketing.

Signs are in place telling people they will be fined if they use the car park without visiting the shops.

It is understood that the businesses, including Curry’s and Carpet Right, have no control over parking restrictions.

Mr Horton said: “There was up to a dozen cars on the car park for people who were doing things like taking their children to swimming lessons.

“They (the parking wardens) probably go down just after 6pm and clear up.

“I play most weeks and I’ve never had a ticket on there before. £100 is a lot of money, especially when you think that the shops aren’t even open then.”

A spokesperson for All Seasons Leisure Centre said they have been in talks with the company behind the car park to come to an understanding about parking, to no avail.

They said: “There has always been a problem and we have got signs up in the centre telling people not to use that car park. We instead suggest people use the car parks for nearby Halfords and Netto out of opening hours.

“Unfortunately, all of our conversations have come to nothing and people can’t even use the car park after the shops are closed. I think they have stepped it up recently.

“We have looked at redesigning our car park but when we tried, we could only come up with two extra spaces.”

Jason Key, managing director at Central Ticketing, said: “Central Ticketing UK Ltd are employed to enforce the parking restrictions at Alliance Retail Park.

“Free parking is available for customers of the retail park. Unfortunately some drivers are parking on the site to use the leisure centre which is located next door and has its own car park.

“A 15 minute grace period is allowed before any enforcement takes place.”

* Have you been caught? Email charlotte.wareing@lep.co.uk