Drivers vent anger over problem parking meters

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Frustrated motorists in Oban are venting their anger on staff in some of the town’s businesses when they cannot find change for the parking meters.

At the moment some parking meters only take old £1 coins, which are being withdrawn from circulation.

Argyll and Bute Council has said meters accepting the new £1 coins will be installed by the end of October.

In one Esplanade hotel, the manager said he had to call the police after abusive behaviour from tourists to reception staff.

The manager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: ‘A guy came into the hotel thinking that it was our machine and asked for change.

‘We simply do not have that much change and we are unable to provide it. We get people in all the time. We only get so much change.

‘The guy then started speaking to staff in a manner that was simply unacceptable.

‘I put them out of the hotel and informed the police, who I later saw speaking to the man and giving him a caution. We are happy to help with change – but only if the council can give us some to exchange. There are hardly any old pound coins in circulation and this problem is only going to get worse.’

Another man, Jim Baillie, contacted The Oban Times to say he was concerned after receiving a parking ticket while he went to search for change.

Mr Baillie, from Greenock, said: ‘I was away for less than five minutes and I managed to get a parking ticket on my car. I didn’t have the correct change.’

Another frustrated driver put a notice on a parking meter that stated: ‘This parking meter only accepts the old £1 and 20 pence pieces, shillings and farthings.

‘It will accept 50 pence coins if they are not the shiny ones. If they are shiny, then forget it.

‘Also you can forget the new (but have been out for 10 years plus) 10 and five pence coins.

‘We totally expect you to have these of course, or magic them out of thin air.’

A spokeswoman for Argyll and Bute Council confirmed: ‘Many meters have been replaced and the remainder will be replaced or upgraded in time for the old coins going out of circulation in October.’

Between April 1 and June 30, the council raised £113,598 from parking on- and off-street in Oban. Plans to extend the parking in Oban are currently under consultation until August 18.

A consultation on parking charges has been announced by the local authority and, while changes are causing concerns to workers on social media, only a small number have actually contacted the local authority to give their views. For more on this, visit www.obantimes.co.uk