Echo readers have reacted with anger and despair over news that car-parking charges at The Bridges are set to rise from next month.
From February 1, the roof top and multistorey car park will be £1.30 an hour, which is an increase of 10p.
Parking will continue to be free on Thursday nights between 5.30pm and 9pm, while a flat rate cost will remain in place on Sundays.
Centre director Andy Bradley said: “We have had to introduce this slight increase to ensure that we can maintain the level of quality and services in The Bridges’ car parks, while having to also take into account rising staffing and operational costs.
“However, with a number of new retailers already taking up space in The Bridges and with hopefully further announcements to come, we believe that we continue to offer great value and great choice to our shoppers.”
Those commenting on our Facebook page argued the move was likely to drive trade away to other shopping areas in the North East.
Vicky Green wrote: “Parking is expensive in the Bridges already and disabled people who need their cars to get into town, as unable to use public transport, don’t receive any concessions whilst parking there.
“I rarely go into town already because of this, but will be attending even less from now on if there is another increased charge.”
Brian Coundon gave his opinion, writing: “This is the reason The Bridges is not popular as people travel to the Metro Centre where all parking is free and the have staff operating in the car parks.
“These charges are killing Sunderland off, even Washington Galleries don’t charge for parking.
“Come on Sunderland get in line, live in the real world.”
Linda Thompson wrote: “Another way to kill the shops and send folk to Newcastle and the Metro Centre. Crazy!”
Mary Hepton said: “Chester-le-Street has revived since the big car park took its charge off the one behind Morrisons.”