A TOWN centre car park has seen a 10 per cent increase in business since women-only and family parking spaces were both introduced.

In January Apcoa's Bow Street car park introduced 29 women-only spaces and 56 family spaces. The scheme has proved to be such a hit with customers that the scheme is currently being extended to other floors.

Apcoa Regional manager Gareth Hughes said: "It has been a success to the extent that we are increasing the number of places for women only.

"There has been a rise in the number of people using the car park and I imagine that will go up even more now the winter nights are drawing in."

He said women feel secure in the designated women-only spots because there is a member of staff permanently monitoring that area of the car park and there is strong lighting.

Gareth said the family spaces on floors six and seven, have also been popular as they lead out onto the ground floor, making it easier for prams and buggies.

He added: "We make security in our car parks a priority and go that extra step to make sure people feel safe."

The car park, which has 16 levels and a total of 618 spaces, has held a National Secure Car Park award for the past three years.

And the women-only and family parking areas have been given a generally positive welcome by motorists.

Julie King, of Bromley Cross who parks at the car park every day, said: "I think it's a good idea, because it gives me added security. It can be late at night before I leave and it makes me feel a lot safer."

Jennifer Massey, from Westhoughton, who was on her way to work, said: "I like the idea of a women's-only car park level, but I think it should be extended to people who have a weekly pass like myself. I like the fact that the women's-only car park level is on the ground level, which I think is safer than parking on the top level."

Alison Lansdale, from Bolton, who used the family spaces on the car park, said the women's-only car park was proving too popular. She said: "I don't think that there are enough women's-only car parking spaces. I would like to see more."

Joan Harrison, from Bury, who was out shopping said: "You have to be there really early to get one of these car parking spots and it's closed at night."