Exeter's John Lewis car park has won a coveted safety award from Devon and Cornwall police.
Specialists from Devon and Cornwall police have worked closely with Exeter City Council to help secure a prestigious Park Mark award for its John Lewis car park.
The John Lewis car park, formerly King William Street car park, reopened for business during September 2012 and has been successful in achieving the Park Mark Safer Parking accreditation for the first time.
Previous attempts to secure the award were unsuccessful due to high crime figures and ongoing reports of anti-social behaviour.
Refurbishments amounting to £900,000 have included the relocation of on-site staff to a more central location, the closure of certain areas after closing time and an overall refurbishment, including painting and repairs.
The extensive CCTV system has also been updated.
Park Mark awards are awarded by the British Parking Association (BPA) for car parks that are rated safe and secure following a site inspection and review of the operating arrangements by representatives of the BPA and Devon and Cornwall Police.
Following the recommendations by Architectural Liaison Officers from Devon and Cornwall police, the car park will be awarded their honour on 18th February.
Rachel Sutton, lead councillor for sustainable development, said: "I'm pleased that in delivering these improvements to the car park we have created a safer and far more pleasant parking environment for shoppers, visitors and residents. It’s reassuring to learn that the site has been awarded Park Mark status and reflects the new lighter and cleaner feel of this council car park."
The architectural liaison officers will continue to monitor the car park, ensuring the area remains safe to anyone using it.
Chas Cannon, area manager from the British Parking Association said: "I'm extremely pleased that this car park has now achieved the Park Mark award. The parking facility is extremely well managed by Exeter City Council and following the refurbishment is now to the required standards for the award. The public can be assured that they are parking in a car park that has a very low risk of crime or anti-social behaviour.”
Police Inspector Andrew Webber said: "I am pleased that a city centre car park has reopened and been developed to a high standard. As a result the changes should help to reduce anti social behaviour at the location and encourage safer car parking.”