Outrage over £22,000 meters

Angered: Coun Matthew Crow and Malcolm Allen
Angered: Coun Matthew Crow and Malcolm Allen

State-of-the-art car parking machines are causing chaos in Chorley as shoppers claim they’re too complicated to use.

Chorley Council has spent £22,000 on six new parking meters on the Flat Iron car park.

But customers are outraged because they don’t give change, and they prevent people from sharing tickets with other drivers.

It costs £1 for three hours, but because motorists have to type their registration numbers into the machines, they can’t pass their tickets on to someone else once they’ve finished with them.

Coun Peter Goldsworthy, Leader of Chorley Council, said: “The ticket machines on the Flat Iron Car Park were more than 10 years old and in need of replacement.

“The six new parking meters have cost a total of £22,000 to buy and install.”

Now, one councillor is concerned the machines will discourage shoppers from visiting the town in future.

Coun Matthew Crow said: “People have been saying they’re not coming to Chorley again, which is really bad for the town’s trade.

“I don’t think the cost is bothering them, because that hasn’t changed, it’s just that the new machines have taken away the option to offer someone your ticket when you’ve finished with it.

“People used to like doing that as a good-will gesture.

“If the council wants to stop people from helping each other like that, why didn’t it just introduce machines that allow people to pay for the amount of time they want use the car park for?”

He added: “The queues are also getting really long because people have to put their registration numbers in.

“When I was there on Monday morning, people were getting really annoyed because the machines are so complicated, and they were panicking that they wouldn’t get to work on time.”

Chair of the Chorley Traders’ Alliance, Malcolm Allen, has also criticised the meters for not giving change.

He said: “£22,000 is a lot of money to spend on parking meters, so I think they should at least give change if people don’t have the right amount.

“It’s upsetting customers because they’re already annoyed about how long it takes to fill in their details, and the queues are really long.

“The council might argue that once people become more familiar with them, they’ll be easier and faster to use, but it’s still an inconvenience.”

He added: “Charging £1 for three hours could encourage some people to stay in the town longer than they intended, to get their money’s worth.

“But realistically, I think most people just want to leave when they’ve finished shopping, and it should be up to them if they want to pass their ticket on to someone else. If their bay has already been paid for, making the next customer pay for it again is just a way for the council to make more money.”