BUSINESSES at a Trowbridge retail park are furious that they weren’t told about parking sign changes which they say are driving away customers because the wording is misleading.

Until recently, parking rules at the Spitfire Retail Park on Bradley Road allowed customers to park for four hours between 6am-7pm and for an hour between 7pm-6am - with no return within two hours for both.

Stores in the park Knees Home and Electrical, Pets at Home, Carpetright Trowbridge, Dreams and Curry’s did not know the regulations had changed, but six weeks ago a sticker was placed over the old signs, saying the maximum stay was now one hour between 8.30pm-7am. The daytime four-hour parking limit is unchanged, with the one-hour restriction applying after 8.30pm. The retail park closes at 11pm.

Floor manager at Knees Matt Adams was told by a colleague that a customer had phoned to say he didn’t want to risk coming to the store because he thought he would be fined for staying longer than an hour.

“We have had nothing but complaints about it. It has a bad knock-on effect for us as a business,” he said.

“It is confusing and it needs to be clear and obvious. The signs were changed without warning.”

James Clarke, manager at Dreams, and assistant manager at Pets at Home, Tim Alford, agreed.

“I can see the bad impact it can have. We should have had a letter. This is the first time I have heard of it. There needs to be better communication,” said Mr Clarke.

“Nobody told us about it, it just happened and I don’t know why. I do not like this change because it is not very clear,” said Mr Alford.

Shopper Joy Cooper, of Westbury, said the the signs are confusing ‘as you immediately are drawn to the ‘maximum stay one hour’ bit’. When the Times visited the park on Tuesday, she and other shoppers all misread the signs and assumed they meant that they only had an hour to do their shopping.

“The signage is stupid. At first glance, I would look at the one-hour bit and think ‘I don’t have enough time to do my shopping’,” said Mrs Cooper.

“They definitely need to make it clearer.

The Wiltshire Times has contacted Premier Parking, who are responsible for the parking signs, but the firm had not responded by the time the paper went to press.