Kirkgate centre bosses have apologised for locking people out of its car park after the Christmas lights switch-on and say procedures have now been changed to avoid a repeat.

The centre says in future it will be liaising with Bradford’s City Centre Events Team before any major events in the City Park with a view to keeping the the multi-storey car park open later.

Police had to be called to the car park after last month’s switch-on when about 40 revellers were left stranded when they got back to Kirkgate multi-storey car park minutes after the fireworks finished only to find the metal shutters down.

Out of the 17 cars trapped inside the car park, two belonged to families desperate to get to urgent medication for their sick children while other vehicles contained dogs.

Eventually three police officers arrived after being contacted by frustrated car owners and managed to talk the security guards into opening one of the car park’s exits.

The car park had shut at 6.30pm as advertised, but those whose cars were trapped inside had said the year before the car park had stayed open later.

Families had to be escorted through the Kirkgate shopping centre to get to their vehicles before paying an excess charge and finally getting on their way.

One of those affected was Allison Garbutt of Wrose, Shipley, who got back to the car park at 6.35pm with her three-year-old daughter, Molly-Jo, who has liver and kidney disease, and was due her routine medication at 7pm – the medication was stuck in the car.

Miss Garbutt, and others, complained at the time to security guards who still refused to open up – until the police were called.

She was so angry that she followed up her complaint direct with the Kirkgate Centre’s manager Catherine Riley, who sent a letter back, which included a £10 parking voucher.

In the letter the centre manager said the incident had been thoroughly investigated with its security company, Northampton-based VSG.

She said systems had been put in place to make sure it didn’t happen again and added: “Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and upset caused to you and your family.”

But Miss Garbutt said: “She never said what those systems in place were – it would be reassuring to know.”

In a response to the Telegraph & Argus, Miss Riley said: “We will be liaising with the City Centre Events Team prior to future major events in City Park with a view to opening the car park later.”