SPENDING a penny just got a lot harder in the heart of the Lake District.

Lakes Parish Council has agreed a motion to only accept contactless payments in some of their toilets.

Areas to be affected include tourist hotspots around the north of Windermere and into Ambleside. The toilets affected will be Moss Low Fold and White Platts, which will be converted. Chapel Stile and Rothay Park will remain free, with Parrock Grasmere, Mechanics Ambleside, and Rydal Road car park Ambleside, all currently equipped with contactless.

Cllr Vicky Hughes, who represents Ambleside and Grasmere for South Lakeland District Council (SLDC), said some people will find it hard.

She said: “It alienates people who don’t have cards, such as young children who could get caught out whilst they are playing or hanging out, or older people who don’t wish to have cards and all those who generally just prefer to pay by cash.

“I would hate to see a repeat of people using the countryside as a toilet, which we saw in places when the public toilets were closed.

Michael Johnson, the clerk of Lakes Parish Council, explained why the decision was taken to make their toilets contactless.

He said: “The council took the decision after considering what the impact that Covid has had on the provision of toilet facilities in the parish. Especially for health and safety reasons.

“Having had the foresight to install contactless during 2019, the use of contactless enabled us to be one of the few local authorities in the country, who were able to keep their public toilets open throughout the pandemic, as it was the only means of entry to our toilets for a number of months.

“The great majority of the general public now use contactless as their primary means of payment for most things, so the council decided that now is the time to implement it.

“This will not affect vulnerable members of society as our disabled toilets will remain free with radar key entry. The council decided that contactless will bring us into the 21st century and this will happen next week.”