Chaos for shoppers as they get stuck in town centre car park
- Credit: Archant
Drivers in Ipswich were faced with a nightmare this afternoon as they struggled to get out of Crown Street car park in the town centre.
Some shoppers were stuck inside the busy 541-space car park for more than an hour when the automatic barriers malfunctioned earlier this afternoon - a peak time for the car park and the town as a whole.
The broken barriers meant that staff had to operate them manually, letting one car out at a time.
One witness to the car park chaos said that drivers became increasingly frustrated, with some beeping their horns and addressing members of staff over their concerns.
The driver, who did not wish to be named, said: "People were complaining about missing appointments and one woman was worried about her daughter who was diabetic."
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Queues built inside the car park, with the congestion made worse by the fact the entry barriers were operating as normal, meaning that although drivers were not able to get out others could still get in.
As the queues built a decision was made to lift the barriers and allow cars to freely flow out of the pay-on-foot car park.
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Traffic remained slightly heavier than usual in the area even after the barriers were raised.
A spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said: "We apologise for the delays experienced by some customers today after the failure of one of the exit barriers.
"Extra staff got there as soon as possible to help clear the queue but we are sorry for the inconvenience caused."
The revamped Crown Street car park opened this summer and has been hailed for being the best in Ipswich. Parking bays are larger than average, making it easier for those that drive larger cars, and the pay on exit system means shoppers do not have to dash back to their cars because their tickets are expiring.
The car park also boasts 28 electric car charging points, 28 disabled bays and ample motorcycle parking. It benefits from extensive CCTV and was designed to have no "hiding places" to make it safer for visitors to the town.