Parking - a Coningsby calamity ?

One of the payment machines at the car park in the centre of Coningsby, Photo: John Aron
One of the payment machines at the car park in the centre of Coningsby, Photo: John Aron

East Lindsey District Council has defended the introduction of its new car park policy in Coningbsy after claims the changes had led to widespread problems.

Coningsby resident Colin Mair - the UKIP leader of Lincolnshire County Council until recently - has listed a number of complaints after new regulations came into force two months ago.

Parking in the ELDC owned car park in Coningsby was free, until ELDC introduced the recent changes following the latest in a long line of district-wide reviews.

According to Mr Mair, the problems included:

○Keypads on the ticket machines are so badly worn it is virtually impossible to read the letters and numbers;

○The machine will not accept new one pound coins;

○There are no signs telling people charges have been reinstated. This means people parking away from the machine risk getting a parking ticket;

○There was an agreement that Sundays would be free but the machines cannot be programmed to cater for this. People have to pay £2 to go to church.

○There is free parking for two hours but vehicle owners have to wait 24 hours before they can get free parking again. That means anybody parking in the afternoon (ie: to pick up children from school) will have to pay the following morning (when they take children to school);

○People were paying £2 for full day parking but the machine will only issue a ticket covering two hours.

Mr Mair added: “The parking ticket machines, when initially installed, were put in the wrong place.

“ELDC were advised to locate them next to a power source so that a machine with a heater could be used which keeps the roll of blank tickets dry, stopping malfunctions.

“It looks like we have old machines - given a couple of basic fixes - with no thought given to the needs of the community.

“For instance, the very poor lighting in winter makes it impossible for older people to be able to read the buttons on the machine.

“No wonder so many people continue to have no faith in local councils.”

In a statement, ELDC responded to each of Mr Mair’s claims, saying:

○The key pad on one machine was due to be replaced and was ‘on order’;

○One machine will accept the new £1 coin and the other is awaiting updating. The updating is part of work by the council’s supplier to ensure all machines can accept the new coin. The machine does accept all other coins;

○The council never agreed to free parking on a Sunday;

○The council is talking to its machine supplier to see if people can access one free two hour period per day, as opposed to one free period every 24 hours;

○It was correct that the machine would issue a ticket covering two hours but that had been ‘rectified’;

The statement added: “The machines were covered and parking enforcement was suspended on the car park while the initial issues were resolved.

“The machines are only three years old and they are in the correct place. One is solar powered and one is mains powered.

“The issues identified by Mr Mair are nothing to do with power source for the machines.”