COMMUNITY leaders have hit out after it has been revealed that an authority has raked in more than £83,000 in ‘over-vends’ over five financial years due to installing car parking machines that do not give out change. Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) runs 31 car parking machines across the area, none of which give change if a driver does not have the exact amount of cash when paying for a ticket. The authority has now released the amount of money it has attained from “over-vends” in the past five financial years.
They are as follows: 2014/15 – £16,361; 2015/16 – £11,801; 2016/17 – £15,704; 2017/18 – £25,208; 2018/19 – £14,536. This works out as a total of £83,610.
In a response to a freedom of information request, SMDC said: “The council does not hold the information regarding the Cheadle Car Parks specifically.”
It also went on to say: “The council can confirm that income from the car parks is spent on
enforcement, maintenance and running costs to provide an overall service.”
A spokesperson for Staffordshire Moorlands District Council further told the Times and Echo: “All income from the car parking machines contributes to the maintenance, operation and enforcement of the car parks.
“The council is currently considering the installation of new pay and display machines which will take card payment.”
Cheadle Town councillor Jamie Evans, who submitted the freedom of information request, reacted to the finding.
“It’s a disgrace at the end of the day,” he stated to the Times and Echo. “The money should be put back into Cheadle.
“Our car park hasn’t been maintained, you can’t see the white lines anymore, there are potholes all over the place and there are outdated machines.
“They (SMDC) need to modernise the machines but they also need an option for people to pay on their phones, especially with how many people have mobiles nowadays.
“Whoever thought of installing a machine that doesn’t give change and whoever decided that you need 90p on hand to pay for one hour need to be held accountable for their actions.”
Tape Street and Well Street car parks, both located in Cheadle, currently charge 90p for up to an hour, £1.40 for up to two hours and £1.80 for up to three hours.
In Well Street car park, drivers have the option of staying for up to ten hours for a cost of £2.20.
Cllr Evans said he supported the idea of implementing an option to pay by card on the machines but stated: “It’s just more money that is going into a pot that we are not seeing.
“It’s not benefitted Cheadle yet.”
Fellow Cheadle Town Council member Councillor Ray Wood commented: “The people of Cheadle have overpaid for parking, so they should be getting it back and put into the town in some way or another.
“I’d like to see it where people do get change. If it hadn’t been for Jamie we wouldn’t have known about this.”
Cheadle Town councillor Kate Martin, who is also a member of SMDC, stated: “The disappointing thing for me is that we haven’t had the car park re-lined yet.
“The signs also need updating. It’s brilliant if they are going to put card payment options on there, that is a positive thing.”
Cllr Martin confirmed that she believed a machine which gives change should have been in place by now and stated: “The money needs to be put back into the car parks in Cheadle.”
Councillor Richard Alcock, also of Cheadle Town Council and SMDC, said: “Since the car parks have been there, nothing has been done to them.
“I didn’t vote for pay and display years ago and I’m still against it now. At Morrisons the car park is packed out because there is free parking down there yet if you want to go to the market and shops in town you have to pay.
“It’s putting them at a disadvantage and it’s stopping trade. I don’t support pay and display at all.
“It’s one of the things that is ruining the town in my opinion.”
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