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Spalding's parking switch fiasco




Baffled drivers were rummaging for loose chan

Not yet: the sign says it will be card payment from June 11 but the old coin machine was still in place on Thursday.
Not yet: the sign says it will be card payment from June 11 but the old coin machine was still in place on Thursday.

Baffled drivers were rummaging for loose change in Spalding’s council-run car parks days after they were expecting to pay by card.

Typed notices taped to pay and display boards declared card payments would start on June 11 in all but Victoria Street and Herring Lane.

In Winfrey Avenue - and elsewhere - cash-only machines were operating, and the council said on Friday the roll-out of the new machines had been delayed seven days.

One couple searched for change on Thursday before heading to Winfrey Avenue but then remembered the "switch" date.

A passenger told us: “I had expected it to be card because we read the notices so we didn’t worry about not having any change.”

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, South Holland’s portfolio holder for place, said the 11th was the original date given by the contractor and the signs reflected that.

He said: “Unfortunately, we should apologise for that, or apologise as far as we can. It is what it is - it’s a cock-up not a conspiracy. These things happen.”

Coun Gambba-Jones believes all will be forgotten once all the new machines are up and running by Friday and people see the benefits, particularly in Castle Swimming Pool where drivers often overpay - sometimes putting in £1 because they don’t have 20p.

Drivers we spoke to at Winfrey Avenue and Victoria Street expressed concerns about security - whether they need to tap in their PIN in a public place or use contactless - and are worried about criminals targeting machines and attempting to clone cards.

Coun Gambba-Jones said the machines are the most up to dateavailable but users should be "just as cautious as using the cashpoint at the bank".

It emerged on Friday that drivers using the phone app - WayTo Park - face an extra 20p charge to cover the cost of text reminders 15 minutes before parking expires and for renewing without going back to the machine.



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