A Westhoughton restaurant owner has spoken out about his "hard decision" to start charging for parking as he faced having to close his doors.

Abdul Atique, who owns and manages the Mangrove Restaurant and Takeaway on Manchester Road, said sometimes staff would arrive for work to find the car park full – leaving them having to park on the surrounding side roads instead.

As of Thursday, June 27, those looking to park in the restaurant’s car park will need to enter their number plate inside in order to park for free.

Those not dining at the restaurant will still be able to park, but will be charged £1 an hour, or £5 for seven hours.

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Abdul, who took over the business in 2020, said: “People were abusing the car park like crazy. We were getting a lot of problems with our customers- when they came into the restaurant they didn’t find parking spaces.

“A lot of the time customers were just leaving because they can’t find parking spaces.

“We’ve never had a problem with people parking from 7am until 5pm. After 5pm, when we open our restaurant, it’s required for our customers.

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“I’ve been putting notices up requesting people not to park there after 5pm, but people just park in our car park and they just go elsewhere and leave their car there for hours.

“Sometimes we don’t even get a parking space when we come into work to park our car into our own car park.

“We used to park on the side road, and that’s causing inconvenience for the local residents as well.”

Abdul said the decision to bring in charges was not done lightly, but in the end he was left with "no choice".

He added: “We had a lot of customers come in and say ‘look, last time we came we couldn’t find any parking, so we drove off'.

“I’m trying to run a business and every customer is essential to me.

"If I lose customers on top of my expenses like the rent and the rates, and I’m losing customers on top of that, I would probably have to close that door. I wouldn’t be able to keep it open.

“It’s been a very hard decision for me to make, because I didn’t want to upset local people, but I waited out for two years, asking people politely, putting notices up, and it was totally ignored.”

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