Tories slam Harlow Council for causing “chaos and confusion” with new parking app
News / Fri 10th Jul 2020 at 07:53am
Harlow Council causes chaos and confusion with new parking app
PARKING charges were reintroduced at all council-owned car parks on Monday. Payment machines have been covered and residents have been forced by the council to use the MiPermit app or phone to make a payment claim the Harlow Conservative group.
The group go on to argue that this “has caused significant disruption at many council-owned car parks as those without a mobile phone have not been able to pay for parking or register for their one-hour of free parking at Bush Fair, The Stow, The Town Park, Post Office Road and Old Harlow”.
Cllr Mike Garnett wrote to Harlow Council earlier this week after he was approached by residents who were left feeling frustrated by the new parking arrangements. Residents are unhappy about the lack of communication and the poor supervision at the council’s car parks which has added to the confusion. A number of residents have told Cllr Garnett that it took a very long time to get through to the telephone payment number which made them late for their appointments.
The Tories believe there are serious questions about Harlow Council’s lack of social responsibility. The council should not be excluding those who do not own a smart mobile phone or have access to the right banking facilities to make telephone payments.
Harlow Council has responded to Cllr Garnett’s concerns. Council officials are looking at resourcing a greater presence at the car parks. It has also been agreed that, as a result of Cllr Garnett’s intervention, the council will suspend issuing penalty notices and will provide more information about paying for parking.
Cllr Mike Garnett, an Old Harlow and Essex County Councillor, said:
“Residents have been struggling all week to work out the new council car park payment system. The old ticket system worked and should not have been replaced. There are residents who do not have a smart mobile phone or the required banking facilities to pay for parking under the new system. It’s also clear that the direct telephone payment system is not fit for purpose.
“Car parking charges should not have been reintroduced so soon. If we want to help small businesses recover from the coronavirus outbreak, the council should be incentivising people to shop locally. I think the council has got its priorities all wrong. It does not make sense to allocate extra resources to car parking when the council’s main priority should be to support local businesses and keep people safe during these challenging times.”
I kind of feel a big deal is being made here of a very minor issue. Realistically how many people do not use a mobile phone these days, and not even a smart phone as you can at least call a number here and sort it out? I'm guessing less than 10% of the population, probably even lower than that. Also if you don't have access to the internet or a phone and yet you drive a car which requires a lot of stuff to be done online now anyway or bank accounts, again realisitcally really how many people are not already online? I think the number is diminishing fast. Reopening the pay points with push buttons etc. at the moment is a virus transmission risk so why would you? It's stupid to put more risk in place than what is actually needed for such a small benefit, if any. So that's not really a slution to a problem that has been posed here is it. Is it really going to take that much effort for this person who can somehow afford to run a car but has no bank account or access to a telelphone anywhere, to either ask someone to pay for them or call ahead and book in as it's not likely to be more than a 5 minute drive. Also is someone who hasn't got a bank account or afford a phone likely to be going shopping in the Water Gardens or using a car park that needs a fee? There are many other car parks and shops which are free. A releative is likely to drop them at hospital anyway for that and those machines haven't taken cash for a while, so nothing has changed there really. These are hardly the demographic thats going to spend spend spend and kickstart the economy. So i just don't see how this is a problem that requires the council to be slammed. If you really want, we can just say anyone over 65 can just park free and the car reg can be checked against owners details if needs be. Would that help?
Jarrett to your point of only using smaller shopping centres. That’s fine and great, exactly what is needed to keep things going and supporting local business. But this statement seems to say the opposite that business will suffer due to having to pay for parking on a phone...you’ve just proved otherwise and that this really isn’t an issue
"shopping in the Water Gardens" Sorry to be pedantic, but I believe the Water Gardens carpark is not owned & run by the council. It appears that the ticket machines near ASDA are functioning - ASDA are issuing the carpark vouchers as per normal. Totally agree that the number of people who own a car and don't have a phone of some sort has to so minimal it is almost worth letting them park for free. jarrett - "Wu Flu situation" That is a racist slur.
Did it not originate in Wuhan or am i missing something.
It's a pain using mobiles especially if you're not a tec geek and if your thinking big brother has just found another way of tracking your location this is it. For car parking under an hour that's free, the button on the machine could be a proximity switch or IR beam switch so no one has to touch a surface and of course to there's contactless. The old system wasn't broke so why waste money paying for a high tec new system? Just another annoying thing that discourages people from using local shops and businesses.