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Nearly £46,000 lost in ONE month from just three broken car parking ticket machines

PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 March 2020

The car park in Milton Road, Stowmarket, which was one of the ones out of action for a month in the summer of 2019. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The car park in Milton Road, Stowmarket, which was one of the ones out of action for a month in the summer of 2019. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

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Faulty car park ticket machines have cost a Suffolk council tens of thousands of pounds.

The car park in Bury Street, Stowmarket, which was one of the ones out of action for a month in the summer of 2019. Picture: GOOGLE MAPSThe car park in Bury Street, Stowmarket, which was one of the ones out of action for a month in the summer of 2019. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Data published ahead of Mid Suffolk District Council's cabinet meeting on Monday revealed a £46,000 financial hit to the authority because three broken machines in Stowmarket.

According to the financial report, the ticket machines for the Milton Road, Bury Street and Union Street car parks in the town were out of action for a month during the summer because "parts required to repair the machines were difficult to source causing a longer than necessary delay".

Those broken machines accounted for a £35,000 loss in income, coupled with a further £11,000 hit in lost excess charge notices - fines for not having a ticket or overstaying.

Despite the lost income, which is used to help prevent cuts to frontline services, the council says its income will still be in the black come the end of the financial year.

The car park in Union Street, Stowmarket, which was one of the ones out of action for a month in the summer of 2019. Picture: GOOGLE MAPSThe car park in Union Street, Stowmarket, which was one of the ones out of action for a month in the summer of 2019. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

A spokeswoman said: "A small number of our ticket machines were out of order last summer.

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"The machines were old and the parts no longer manufactured.

"For a while, our supplier managed fix any problems by using parts from older machines in their stock, but there comes a time when they are no longer able to salvage parts.

"We are now replacing all the old machines and upgrading others to make sure this situation does not arise again.

"The money we receive from our car parks is just one of many ways that we bring income into the council to fund our services so, although important, it's not the only form of income we receive.

"We set our budget each year, but things can change and we plan for this and manage it.

"The variance on car park income can be managed within the overall budget and we are still forecasting a favourable variance at year end."

The cars parks are among the 14 the council runs, according to its website, with those three totalling 283 spaces.

But the council's opposition Green group questioned why ticket sales had been impacted so badly when most car parks have two or more machines, and added that there had been issues with underground cabling which took time to find and remedy.


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