There’s no doubt the issue of parking charges in the city is always a big talking point with Sunderland Echo readers.
Some thought the trial deserved to go ahead and saw it as a positive development – while others insisted free parking should be a straightforward issue, pointing out that other shopping centres, including the MetroCentre, do not charge.
Commenting on our Facebook page about the ParkingPerx proposal, Mark Reed posted: “Sounds like a good idea in theory. But depends on how much I have to spend in order to get free parking.”
Angie Hammond added: “It needs to happen. It’s so expensive to park in Sunderland except for Sunniside. But then you have to go to the movies or eat before it’s free.
Jason Dodd called it “a step in the right direction” while Marie Moon was also enthusiastic, saying: “Sounds good to me.” Those sentiments were shared by Grant Pearson, who wrote: “Sounds like a great idea.”
Others had reservations about the scheme.
Kevin Burgess said: “MetroCentre and Retail World are totally free – don’t have to spend to earn parking points.”
Eileen Robinson pointed out: “Assumes everyone has a smart phone – wrong!”
George Williamson offered an alternative solution: “Make it all free for a few hours.”
Commenting on our website, reader Fuzzysquirrel asked: “Why go to this complicated scheme? What if you park but can’t find what you are looking for and therefore earn no points?
“How about a sticker issued to all Sunderland council tax payers for FREE PARKING in Sunderland to encourage the residents rather than go just a bit further to Washington (which with their extended retail shops added to The Galleries) have a far better choice than Sunderland, a brand new leisure centre and FREE PARKING!”
In an online poll, almost 200 of you voted to have your say on whether or not you would use the scheme. At the time of writing, more than 80% of you were in favour of giving it a go.