Located off Oswald Street near Woolworths, it is manned by a staff member tasked with ushering vehicles to the designated bays, none of which are designated parents, senior or disabled bays.

Westfield has introduced similar models to shopping centres in South Australia and Queensland.

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Maggie Vickers, who regularly shops at the centre, told Nine News Perth‘s Gemma Varone she would rather go somewhere else than pay for parking.

“I personally think it’s just greed. Why would they do it at Christmas time?” Ms Vickers said.

“We’ve had a crap year, lots of people have not had a job and you can pay $5 extra to pay premium parking? No, sorry. I refuse to pay on principle. I know it’s only $5 but it’s a principle.”

The initiative has been touted by Westfield as the solution to parking struggles caused by the Christmas rush but locals like Ms Vickers claim it takes advantage of “people who need it the most”.

“Do my shopping twice a week and park here (large family) with my youngest boy, I’m disgusted, so many parents, senior and disabled parking down here,” a customer wrote on social media.

“Bloody rude even if the first row of ACROD/seniors/parents is still free, this is a suburban shopping centre, not the city, should be no paying at all.”

Another shopper who regularly parked in the area now designated as paid parking said the bays were great for parents with prams.

“$5? What a rort. Sneaky bastards set this up just before the Christmas rush,” she said.

The backlash comes as retailers across the metropolitan area brace for their busiest weekend of the year, as thousands of shoppers rush to snatch last-minute Christmas presents and essentials.

On Thursday night alone, long lines formed at the checkouts of retailers at Carousel, Westfield’s shopping centre in Cannington, with both the mall’s regular and overflow carpark completely full.

A spokeswoman for Scentre Group, Westfield’s owner and manager, said Prime Parking allowed customers to prebook their car space with no time limit and at a flat rate for convenience.

“Christmas is our busiest time of year and making parking safe, easy and convenient is important to our customers,” she said.

“Prime Parking is an optional service with only 8 car spaces available. For those customers interested in the added convenience in the final days before Christmas, they can simply visit the Westfield Innaloo website and schedule their visit.”

All the parking spaces within the new section were formerly marked as 30-minute bays.

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