A Wrexham resident has discovered the council collected £1433 in parking fees on a ‘free parking’ day in the town centre.
Wrexham.com tweeted a warning on the day in question after seeing one person contribute to the £1433 collected:
Reminder free parking in council carparks today – machines still accepting cash and on one we saw notice was a little lower. Two people happier for being told it was free before putting cash in 👍
— Wrexham.com (@wrexham) December 1, 2018
One unhappy Wrexham resident explained to Wrexham Council via an Freedom of Information request they placed, “Wrexham Council publish their intention to make Council car parks free of charge from 10am on the 1st December. At 13.00 hours on the 1st I entered St Giles carpark and after parking my car to the rear of the carpark, I approached the ticket machines from behind the island they were situated.
“As I fed the money into the machine, it was brought to my attention that a notice had been attached to the base of the machine, very close to the ground making it invisible to anyone approaching from any direction from head on.
“In my opinion, there was little thought put into how this was displayed and would have been more visual had it been placed near the screen or alongside the payment slot.
“The positioning of the sign made it more than likely that it would not be observed and therefore, out of public interest, I respectfully request how much money was collected from Council carparks after 10am on the 1st December 2018?”
In the FOI response seen by Wrexham.com, the Council replied: “The income taken in the town centre car parks that were subject to ‘free parking’ on that date was £1433.
“Signage was placed with the best intentions given that charges still applied until 10am that day. There was no intention to mislead the public.
Signage was placed early so that car park users could make an informed choice about their parking payment, therefore the payment slot could not be covered at that time as charges still applied.
“Signs had to be on the machine itself as in previous years it had been placed on the bottom of the tariff board and car park users missed
“It could not be placed over the instructions information at the top of the machine as this has to be visible to ensure car park users can see how to use the machine.”
“There was no budget to pay for additional signage therefore officers had to use what was available at no cost. There had also been extensive press about the free parking, to raise awareness of the parking arrangements for that day. No revenue was taken at the pay machines in Tŷ Pawb on the 1st December 2018.”
Separately to the FOI placed by a resident, another issue on the freeparking days revolved around the ‘JustPark’ app. The usually helpful application on mobile devices allow you to quickly pay for a space without having to visit a parking machine. One resident provided evidence of payments being accepted, and when they chased a refund from JustPark the company told her they were unaware of any offers.
There was some confusion in early December when the free parking initiatives were first encountered by the public, as we covered here.
The top image taken by Wrexham.com, and the one below, show the parking warning in place on December 6th in the Library car park.
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