City of Newcastle rangers will take over patrols of Marketown’s western carpark from October 1.
It means parking fines issued for overstaying a new three-hour limit, to be introduced on Monday, will be issued by council rather than a private carpark operator.
Centre management approached council for help after ongoing complaints from customers and retailers that people were using the undercover facility for all-day parking.
Marketown centre manager Jenna Corcoran said customers were becoming frustrated because the parking lot was often full before stores opened for the day’s trade.
“We’ve taken this feedback seriously as convenience and comfort of our customers is a priority for us,” she said.
“The new 3P signage is now displayed throughout the western carpark and customers can enjoy three hours of free parking at Marketown from next Monday.
“We anticipate that the new time restricted parking will eliminate the all-day offenders from taking up customer parking.”
Centre management confirmed that ticket-dispensing boom gates at the entry and exit points of the carpark were never commissioned and can’t simply be switched on.
The Newcastle Herald understands Marketown is also investigating options such as new boom gates or ticketless number plate recognition software.
Management is not paying council to patrol its carpark. The eastern, open-air, parking lot will continue to be monitored by Carepark.
A council spokesperson said patrols would ensure only customers “not commuters or students” parked in the facility.
He said there were about 100 vacant all-day spaces behind Marketown at Number Two Sportsground, which cost $6 a day.
“Council has for a number of years assisted businesses suffering with significant illegal parking,” he said.
“We provide similar services to Aldi in the CBD and Hamilton as well as McDonald’s in the CBD and Kotara.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.