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South Lakes council defends new pay and display parking system
A DISTRICT councillor has defended the use of new pay-and-display machines in South Lakeland which demand that people key in their registration details each time they park.
The move, which has cost South Lakeland District Council £340,000, has been rolled out across 38 car parks. The new machines prevent motorists pass-ing their ticket on to other drivers if time still remains on it.
It also helps SLDC ensure it receives the £2million it needs from car parking every year.
“All that the old machines did was collect cash and push out a ticket,” said Coun Ian Stewart, economy and enterprise portfolio holder.
“The new ones give us a lot more management options – we can take payment by card, or via text message. It gives people more flexibility.
“We rent the parking space to a vehicle, not to an individual,” said Coun Stewart.
“We could ask the question: Should we be renting a space for a car, or for a person who could then pass their ticket on to someone else if they have 15 minutes left?”
Coun Stewart said he would happily open up the debate on this, and encouraged people to let SLDC know their views.
But he added: “A net £2million comes from car parking. That means we are able to provide services and are able to keep council tax lower than it might otherwise be. It is a balancing act.”
Ian Hale, of Barbon, wrote to The Westmor-land Gazette to express his unhappiness at the new machines in Kirkby Lonsdale.
He said: “I have not seen a new machine without a queue, and an ill-tempered one at that. The keyboard is on a vertical surface and is clumsy to use, even for computer-liter- ate people.
“The keys are tiny and difficult to use. We have to contend with the local weather and darkness, and there is no shelter.”
Mr Hale was one of a number of people to contact the Gazette asking whether the introduction of the machines was a ‘new level of surveillance’.
But Coun Stewart said: “The registration details are only on the ticket. They are not kept and we wouldn’t give them to anybody else.”
Brian Chadwick, of Grange-over-Sands, par-ked his car outside Booths supermarket, in Kendal, and said: “It wasn’t the easiest of things to operate. Just trying to see the num-bers and letters on the keypads was difficult enough. It isn’t immed-iately clear what you should be doing.”
Dave Shields, of Bow-ness, who used the same machine, said: “It turns the simple process of parking into a hassle. I have seen many people who cannot remember their registration having to walk back to their car to write it down.”
“And why shouldn’t I be able to give my ticket to another person? It is not as if my car is paying for it. It is me and, surely, if I have some minutes left and want to be kind to someone else, I should have the choice to do that.”