The owners of Rutherglen Shopping Centre have caused outrage by re-introducing charges for the use of their car park.
The new system was due to begin on Friday, December 14, but was delayed by bad weather.
Operators of the car park are Horizon Parking, an Essex company, who specialise in pay and display machines, but the news hasn’t gone down well with people who use the centre.
Parking at the centre will cost 50p for two hours, £1 for three hours and £8 for 24 hours. If motorists go over their allotted time, park out with a marked bay, park poorly, or park in a disabled bay without displaying the appropriate badge, they will be fined £70.
However the charges do not apply on Sundays, when parking is free.
The new system for the 225-space car park has been implemented by Moorgrath, the company who bought the centre from Cairnduff Developments earlier this year.
Cairnduff were inundated with complaints about the operation of the car park and many people who left their cars there were hit with fines of up to £120.
When Moorgarth took over they promised a £300,000 refurbishment of the car park and said ‘pay and display’ arrangements would replace the previous system operated by ParkingEye.
While the work was carried out, people paid nothing to park at the centre.
However, the return to parking charges has infuriated shoppers with many going on to the Reformer’s Facebook page to express their anger.
Many say the re-introduction of charging will drive away shoppers from the centre.
However, Tim Vaughan, of Moorgrath, said they needed a return after making substantial investments to improve the facility.
“It was the most overt system we could find,” he added.
“The charges are low to make sure it’s not considered punitive.
“Hopefully, everyone appreciates we spent over £300,000 improving that car park and it’s something you can’t do without getting some sort of return.
“I would hope that the users would appreciate that it’s a significant improvement. In the future they will also see improvements in the centre.”
Rutherglen MP Tom Greatrex was pleased Moorgarth had not returned to ParkingEye and added: “When I’ve asked people about parking in that car park the vast majority said to ensure the car park isn’t used by people filling it up and going to the train station, they wouldn’t mind paying a charge.
“Most people will see the prices quoted as fairly reasonable.
“My one concern is there doesn’t seem to be much notice to this being introduced given that up until a couple of weeks ago it was still free.
“I hope the new owners aren’t repeating the mistakes of the past and will let people know about the changes.”
Chairman of Rutherglen Community Council Tommy Rooney was more sceptical about the new charging system and thinks something similar to ParkingEye’s ‘two hours for free’ policy should have been maintained.
He said: “If people are being charged for using it I think it’ll have a detrimental effect on people using the centre.
“The last thing we want is people not using the centre and going elsewhere to shop.”