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Monday, 06 July 2015

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Barrow parking machines to ‘recycle public cash’

MORE than £67,000 is to be spent on new pay and display machines in the car parks across the Barrow borough.

CHANGE - BUT NO CHANGE Pay and display machines in Barrow are set to be replaced. The new machines will not give out change. Above right, Phil Huck

Barrow Borough Council will spend the money to replace its 22 machines which are up to 14 years old and regularly need repairing.

The council collects more than £600,000 a year from the machines. Executive director Phil Huck told the council’s executive committee it was a necessary purchase to secure the income, prevent customer dissatisfaction when they can’t buy tickets because they are broken, and to reduce – not increase – maintenance costs.

He told the meeting: “They are getting dilapidated and are rusting in parts. We feel that rather than replace them on a phased basis, you are better to bite the bullet, because there aren’t any worth keeping.”

The purchase is not in the 2014/15 budget and will be funded with contract-related savings of £50,070 and £17,660 from reserves.

An Evening Mail Freedom of Information request recently showed that, over the past two years, around £65,000 in coins has been put into council car parks in Barrow, Copeland and South Lakeland when drivers did not have the correct change for their ticket – as the machines do not give change.

Of the three councils, Barrow made the least, with just £1,515 extra put into machines during the period. The new machines will also not give out change.

Councillor Alan Pemberton, part of the Conservative opposition on the council, said: “It just seems not very fair and honest if we are trying to sell something and charging more than what they are buying.”

Mr Huck refuted that suggestion and said the prices were fixed at £1.30 an hour and clearly advertised at that price.

He added that the extras from wrong change were a small amount of the £600,000 made from pay and display machines each year.

Deputy council leader, Councillor Brendan Sweeney, said if the council was to buy machines capable of processing payments and issuing change, they would be more susceptible to fraud and the council would likely have to charge more than the £1.30 an hour charged now.

He also disputed the idea that the spare change was lining council coffers and insisted: “This is public money being recycled.”

Have your say

Phil and the rest of 'em at the town hall won't be recycling my cash.
faced with no free parking...the alternative being a parking meter. I'll be turning round and going home.
Sorry Barrow traders, but what you say is 100% accurate. By taxing shoppers, the council will cause you to go bust.

I see a town already full of empty shops, charity outlets, cash my whatever, buy your tat, sell your tat, lend you cash at silly rates, shops.
The town centre is dying because of high rates and parking restrictions.
Look at facebox's pictures of a vibrant Dalton road from the 50's 60's and 70's......no more though.
Who's responsible? our councillors? our town hall employees?
Time for a change I think.
NWEM publish our county councillors who voted these parking charges and meters in, and let us show 'em in the next elections.
people power.....use it!

Posted by Not recycling MY cash on 9 August 2014 at 22:38

Labour-led Barrow council and their Executive Director, Phil Huck, are very carefree when it comes to other peoples' money. Perhaps they have an excess of it themselves.
Car park ticket machines are to be replaced and they have opted to choose replacements that will still not give change. Mr Huck's comment on this council windfall was that "This is public money being recycled."
Perhaps Mr Huck and the councillors would like to recycle some more public money by taking a pay cut and reducing their claims for allowances and expenses.
Do they expect change when they go shopping?

Posted by Sandy Houston on 5 August 2014 at 20:32

View all 14 comments on this article

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