I WAS contacted by one of my residents last week about the ongoing problems with car park payments and the complexity of use and lack of working machines in the area.

I responded and advised my resident to email the complaint to councillor Laura Crane, highways portfolio holder.

The response that came back was a generic reply that has been sent borough wide, according to my fellow councillors.

The machines are not only defunct; they are exclusionary of those who do not have access to a smartphone or digital payment method.

Additionally they are potentially damaging to our health and economy.

The law-abiding shoppers do not want to incur a fine for failing to purchase a ticket, but how can they buy these tickets when the machines do not work.

The machines can be complicated to use for some people, with the sun glaring onto the screen.

Then someone comes to their assistance, and social distancing goes out of the window.

And then there’s RingGo, the convenient car parking app, that charges you an extra 10 per cent on top of your ticket.

The developers need to make a profit I agree, but we’re trying to help people’s pockets here, not add on extra charges.

And what about those that do not have a smart phone, or do not have the app installed.

I have found it a pain to use, especially when I am in a rush and the machine was out of order, so there’s the faff of downloading it, especially in areas with poor internet connections.

This isn’t something many residents have thought about, and not being able to use money has created a huge issue for many.

The Conservative stance would be to have not charged shoppers for car parking for the first few months to help bring shoppers back to the high street.

We would also encourage suspended charges around the Christmas period, and the re-introduction of the six discretionary free days to be used by the town councils to support their initiatives over 2021/22.

I find it ludicrous you cannot use money in the machines, when there are signs clearly stating they are emptied three times a day.

Why not fit hand sanitiser to the machines to make people’s lives easier and give PPE to parking attendants so they can empty the machines safely?

The administration must realise it is important to help ease residents back into a normal routine.

Why are they not making sure all machines are fit-for-purpose and working properly, and why haven’t they suspended all charges until they have a suitable, working system in place?

Kate Parkinson

Cheshire East Conservative councillor