Crawley dad blasts ‘rip-off’ parking meters

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A dad has blasted parking meters outside Crawley Hospital for not giving change.

He said drivers were charged 35p per half hour of parking in West Green Drive - 70p for an hour and £1.05 for 90 minutes - but did not give change for a £1.

Nick Haworth, of Ranmore Close, Broadfield, said it was a ‘disgrace’ and called on the council to either give the change or extend the length of stay. He said: “Imagine going into a shop and saying I want a tray of eggs - it’s £1.20 and you only have a £2 coin and you get no change!

“The programmed machine takes your pound and keeps the change.

“But if I had an extra 5p in my suit trousers I could get an hour and a half parking.”

He said meters in ‘sensible’ countries would charge a £1 or give change if they did not.

He drove his son to the hospital and was charged £1 for his stay from 3.58pm from 4.58pm.

He said he was ‘disappointed’ to find there were no spaces nearby and was forced to park in West Green Drive.

Mr Haworth said the parking machine charges were a ‘rip-off’.

Crawley Borough Council manages the machines on West Sussex County Council’s behalf. It owns the meters and sets the charges.

A county council spokesman said: “The machines were meant to be configured so if you put a £1 in you get £1 worth of parking.

“If that is not happening we will check and get that changed.”

A letter Mr Haworth received from a borough council Parking Services liaison officer said: “All the machines managed by Crawley Borough Council are ‘Correct Change Only’, though some now have a ‘Pay by Card’ option.

“None of our machine proportion the time for the amount paid, I do believe there are machines in some towns that do this, but here in Crawley the machines we look after do not.

“I am sorry you are unhappy about the costs of parking, but these are set by West Sussex County Council.

“With regards to the hospital being full, this is a recent thing, since we have been enforcing it, I understand that more services are moving into the hospital and so more people are using it.”