The leader of Cherwell District Council wants to protect coin-operated payment machines as part of plans to improve council car parks.
The authority’s executive this week agreed to enter a five-year arrangement for Oxfordshire County Council to oversee enforcement of Cherwell’s car parks in Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington.
The deal includes the option for either the district or the county to pull out with 12 months’ notice.
The county took charge of the civil enforcement of on-street parking across three of the county’s districts, including Cherwell, in November 2021.
The idea is that the same team of people will oversee compliance at the region’s car parks, leading to cost savings.
It is also hoped that the way the car parks operate can be improved with a focus on speeding up the payment process for users and increasing the number of pay-on-exit car parks, preventing users from rushing back to meet the deadline on their tickets and reducing the need for patrols.
Problems with payment machines were addressed by Councillor Barry Wood (Con, Fringford & Heyfords), the leader of the council.
“The business of the machines taking a long time to process a card payment is something we have to fix,” he said.
“That is a problem for residents, and we do need to fix that. It is a part of this that we definitely need to do, and we will do.
“The other point I would make is that we recognise that a significant number of people are, like me, still old-fashioned and carry a large amount of shrapnel in their pockets to put into the machines.
“We will look to protect the ability of people to pay with coins.”
Councillor John Broad (Ind, Bicester West) also made a plea to wipe out charges for all motorcycles.
As things stand, parking is free for motorcycles left in designated areas of council car parks, but charges apply if they use a standard bay.
Councillor Broad reasoned that it is easy for motorcycles to navigate around payment barriers anyway, adding: “I notice in the report that the excellent electric vehicle charging points are in there, and some electric motorbikes will be using those as well.
“Motorcycles are part of the solution for congestion, can we please make sure parking is free for those machines? There is nowhere to put a parking ticket on them anyway.”
Councillor Dan Sames (Con, Bicester South & Ambrosden), Cherwell’s portfolio holder for cleaner and greener communities, said: “We will look into it.”