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‘Failure of democracy’: Councillor slams lack of consultation on cashless parking

Not asking for the public’s view on cashless car parking before introducing it to Ceredigion was a “failure of democracy”.

Aberaeron councillor Elizabeth Evans said the decision to introduce cashless car parking machines at the majority of council car parks on 1 December without public consultation was not good enough and “shouts of a Cabinet remote from the people of Ceredigion”.

At its meeting on Tuesday, 12 January, Cabinet approved making the cashless system permanent following its implementation under off-street parking orders which state that payment would be made by coin or “otherwise by a means approved by the council”, according to a report to Cabinet.

Cllr Evans, and others, argued that the introduction was a “major service change” and a public consultation should have been held, and while not against its introduction in principle or its benefits, views of how it is working and been received should be gathered before making it permanent.

Concerns about people finding the machines hard to use and those that may not have bank cards were highlighted.

“It’s about the lack of consultation, it’s about giving people enough notice to use the system. We should be consulting even though it’s embedded in article 4a, the people of Ceredigion deserve better, especially those that might not use cards like you and I do,” said Cllr Evans, highlighting that the proposal had also not been through scrutiny committee.

She asked that Cabinet delayed a decision on permanent cashless payments for a month for a consultation on its introduction, and how it is working, to be held and evaluated.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic it has not been possible to engage or consult widely or in a meaningful way prior to implementing the change. However, the council’s Off Street Parking Order which was subject to consultation prior to its introduction, already provides for the council to implement payment by cashless means,” a report to Cabinet states.

There was acknowledgement of the move towards cashless payments in many areas of life and reference was made to it being safer to use cards in the current circumstances.

“I will not accept the argument that as we become older we cannot become familiar with these things,” said Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn.

Cabinet voted in favour of the permanent adoption of cashless charging at council pay and display car parks.



Article originally appeared on Cambrian news.

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