The Daily Telegraph

Council U-turns after cashless meters drive motorists away

- By Jamie Johnson

A COUNCIL has been accused of confusing locals by banning parking payments in cash because of the risk of spreading coronaviru­s.

Cheshire East Council had prohibited motorists from paying for their parking fees in coins at machines, but was forced to lift the “cash ban” after some people found they could not pay by app or contactles­s bank card.

Shoppers risked incurring a £60 parking fine when they were unable to understand how to download a payment app onto their phone while others had bank cards that were not contactles­s. One 82-year old woman was forced to do her weekly shop at a retail park in a different town seven miles away because she could only pay for her parking in cash and feared a fine.

Other shoppers unable to use the digital system placed Sos-type notes on their car windscreen­s urging for leniency from traffic wardens.

Last Friday, after pressure from local MPS, the council confirmed it has “reintroduc­ed” cash payments after being accused of “making a pig’s ear” of parking arrangemen­ts across its towns.

In June, officials withdrew the option of paying in cash at most car park machines, claiming it would “reduce the risk of virus transmissi­on”. Instead the machines offered chip and pin and contactles­s options as means of payment, as well as Ringgo, the mobile app.

The council confirmed that it had agreed to lift the ban after “monitoring car park usage and listening to feedback from car park users, residents and businesses”.

Local Conservati­ve MP Dr Kieran Mullan said: “This decision has taken too long and damaged local businesses. I just welcome that common sense has finally prevailed thanks to pressure from local people and businesses refusing to be quiet about it.”

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