Council is left red-faced over new machines

COUNCIL chiefs who this week introduced a new car park charging regime are investigating problems reported with certain coins.

Babergh District Council has ended Sudbury and Hadleigh’s long-cherished free parking status and now charges people wanting to stay in town for more than three hours.

The new tariff system started on Monday, but while the authority says public feedback had been “very positive” others have reported issues with the machines.

Some residents using the Kingfisher Leisure Centre parking in Sudbury claim the instructions on the machines are difficult to follow.

They claim the instructions indicate parkers should press a black button to get a �1.50 ticket when in fact they need to press a black button, insert cash and then press the green button – usually used to get a free ticket – before the ticket is printed.

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Others have reported issues using �2 coins in the machine. The machines state they accept �2 coins – although some users have reported having to repeatedly insert coins before they register in the machines.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “As with any new system there are going to be a few teething problems.

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“The instructions on the machines were in fact modified on Tuesday morning to ensure that any potential confusion regarding their use was removed.

“Overall, the transition has gone very smoothly. The council ensured that staff and wardens have been available in the car parks every morning this week to provide advice and help people over the first few days – the feedback given has been very positive.

“Babergh is not aware of any problems with any machines not accepting certain coins, but will look at the issue in more detail now it has been alerted.”

David Holland, owner of Curtain Craft in King Street and who has likened the imposition of parking fees to a tax on working in the town, said the “teething problems” showed a “lack of attention to detail”.

He said local authorities, like businesses, must always try to see a service from the user’s perspective.

He said the new tariff regime had not been popular to begin with which made it even more important to avoid the kind of “teething problems” being reported.

“It is just ridiculous. The fundamental problem with a lot of this is communication. It is an appalling reflection on the council – they have spent all this money and there is a lack of attention to detail.”

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