FESTIVAL Place has apologised to customers after they faced “severe delays” exiting the car park last Sunday.

Drivers were at a standstill in the shopping centre car park because one of the exits was closed and Festival Place failed to install “adequate signage” to let drivers know.

Alan Daniel was stuck in the car park from 1pm to 2.15pm. The 48-year-old, from Hatch Warren, said: “Tempers were flying as people sat in motionless cars. It took just over an hour from parking space to barrier, at one point not moving an inch for around 20 minutes. My wife and daughter made progress homeward on foot, leaving me with our car, and I watched other parents trying to console understandably fractious offspring.

“A lack of information/explanation from the seemingly invisible car park supervisors made matters worse, and when after around 60 minutes of frustration, I made it to the exit barrier, the lone member of staff stated there was no problem when questioned about the delays.”

Steven Connolly, centre director of Festival Place, confirmed there was a problem, and apologised to those affected. He said: “We had planned with Vue Cinema for the work to their air-conditioning to be carried out on a Sunday morning specifically so we could keep the disruption to a minimum.

“The work started at 7am and was due to take eight hours. The work went on for longer because of heavy rain and flooding. To allow the work to happen, we had to close the Festival Way car park exit. Unfortunately, there was inadequate signage so shoppers didn’t know in advance to use the Alen-con Link exit and this caused delays.”

Mr Connolly added: “We are responding personally to all those who have understandably complained. “We have also looked at the car park operation and formed a strategy to ensure that should a similar situation arise in the future, the traffic flow will be better managed and delays minimised.”