Fears allayed over ‘no cash payments’ in town car park

Cllr Graham Mayhew (left) and Cllr Stephen Catlin with the offending cash machine
Cllr Graham Mayhew (left) and Cllr Stephen Catlin with the offending cash machine

Confusion reigned last week in one of Lewes’s busiest car parks as drivers were confronted by an out of commission ticket machine with a cover telling them to pay by mobile phone.

Cllr Graham Mayhew said: “One resident who rang me said they had seen several older drivers without mobiles having to drive off to find parking elsewhere.

“The car park behind Premier Inn is particularly popular with older people because it is nearest the shops.

“Senior citizens are also the group with the lowest proportion of smart phones as not everyone finds them easy to use.

“I went and looked at the car park and although I found another machine that would take cash it wasn’t immediately obvious.

“The cover on the machine that was out of service was emblazoned with a large notice telling people they could still use the car park if they paid by mobile phone.

“I didn’t even see the much smaller notice at the bottom mentioning payment by another machine as it isn’t at all prominent and obviously nor did a lot of other people.

“This is very misleading and has clearly put off many people from using this car park, as there were several empty spaces, which there aren’t normally.”

A spokesman for Lewes District Council said this week: “There are no plans to prevent people using cash to pay for parking.

“Unfortunately, two pay and display machines failed at the same time during a busy period in the town centre.

“We are working with our contractors to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Stephen Catlin said: “I am delighted to hear this is not pay by phone or by card being introduced by stealth.

“Only 10 per cent of users prefer phone payment to use car parks so coins will be in use for some time to come.”