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Loddon shoppers irked by ticket machines

PUBLISHED: 17:09 04 September 2008 | UPDATED: 07:38 01 August 2010

SHOPPERS in Loddon have been left baffled by new ticket machines which were introduced to car parks this week.

Parking charges came into effect at the council-run sites on High Street and Bridge Street in Loddon on Monday and with them came hi-tech machines which need a full registration number typed in to validate the ticket.

SHOPPERS in Loddon have been left baffled by new ticket machines which were introduced to car parks this week.

Parking charges came into effect at the council-run sites on High Street and Bridge Street in Loddon on Monday and with them came hi-tech machines which need a full registration number typed in to validate the ticket.

Although the first two hours are free, drivers have to punch in their details even for a short stay and the keypad, which resembles that of a mobile phone, is proving a tough hurdle.

Attendants from South Norfolk District Council were on hand on Monday to help confused drivers but on Wednesday the situation had not improved.

Richard Warrens, 50, of Loddon, parked in the Church Plain car park, on High Street. He said: “It's like texting. I don't think the instructions were clear enough about getting the digits up. It's a lot of hassle - and all for two hours free parking.”

David Hogg, a 65-year-old business manager from nearby Heckingham, also struggled. He said: “It's a pain in the bum. I found it really awkward.”

The parish council has already received several complaints about the machines and the issue is expected to come up at its next meeting. Council clerk Karen Read said: “The keypads are not the easiest to operate, especially for older people. It's a bit like sending a text - if you want a 7 you have to hit the button five times. If you can't text, you don't stand a chance.”

Many drivers have had to try their best and hope they will not be fined. Charles Sewell, 65, used the car park on Monday and said: “If you put the wrong numbers in, presumably they will give you a ticket.”

But South Norfolk District Council assured confused drivers they would not be penalised.

Garry Wheatley, the council's portfolio holder for finance and resources which includes car parks, said: “We will be looking at this very carefully to monitor what's happening and will take a sympathetic approach. If there is something wrong with the system we will do something about it.”

Similar machines were introduced in Yarmouth earlier this year. Drivers parking at the King Street site only have to enter the numbers from their car's registration, but it still caused confusion at first.

Michael Chillingworth, Yarmouth Borough Council's parking services manager, said: “There was a public response early on but now it doesn't seem to be a real issue.”

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