Outrage over parking charge ‘error’

JPCT 060115 S15010397x Horsham. Piries Place car park -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150601-111657001
JPCT 060115 S15010397x Horsham. Piries Place car park -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150601-111657001
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A controversial decision to charge people for parking in Horsham town centre on Sundays and bank holidays has hit a stumbling block in one of its first major tests.

Horsham District Council introduced a £1.50 daily charge for motorists parking in council-owned car parks on these days after claiming it would raise an extra £140,000 a year.

Parking ticket purchased on May Day bank holiday Monday

Parking ticket purchased on May Day bank holiday Monday

However, visitors parking in the town on May Day bank holiday Monday, the first bank holiday since the new system was introduced, were left rather bemused after paying the advertised rate but only getting a few hours’ worth of parking.

Fred King parked in the London Road car park.

He said: “The advertised charges said £1.50 for Sundays and bank holidays so I was rather surprised when my ticket emerged telling me I had only purchased one hour of parking. The machine was working to the Saturday rates.”

Tim Kimber encountered a similar problem at The Pavilions car park in Hurst Road.

He said: “On Monday the machines would only accept a minimum payment of the usual £1.60 and a stay of three hours, instead of the £1.50 for the day.

“I wonder just how quickly the council will be to update the machines for the bank holiday at the end of the month and secondly how quickly they will be to refund my 10p?”

The council said a ‘system error’ had caused the problem and apologised to motorists.

A spokesman for HDC said: “Horsham District Council apologies to motorists using the Pay and Display car parks in Horsham town centre this bank holiday Monday.

“Whilst our pay and display machines were programmed and adjusted to accommodate bank holiday tariffs, there was a data system error resulting in the tariffs defaulting to the normal Monday charges.

“This fault has been identified and is being resolved.”

The charges were approved in January and first introduced at the beginning of April.

The decision faced a lot of opposition with more than 4,500 people signing a petition against the charges.

Anyone affected by Monday’s issue is asked to contact parking@horsham.gov.uk

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