Local residents have this week been discussing a high profile failing with the City Council’s Automatic Parking Registration System (ANPR). One member of the public was nearly charged over £700 for two hours parking. The fault, which occurred in Canterbury’s Pound Lane Car Park, is not the first time this problem has been reported and has prompted Labour Councillors to demand answers.
ANPR is used to automatically charge people parking in 4 of the largest car parks across Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay. The system takes a photo of people’s registration plates on entry to the car park, automatically calculating how much they owe when they leave. The Tories have consistently argued that the system allows for people to pre-register and pay for their parking automatically but if the eye-watering figures shown above were linked to someone pre-registered they could be automatically debited from a resident’s account. It is unclear if this has ever happened and again, Labour councillors will be demanding answers.
To add insult to injury, Ms. Fowler (who reported the most recent issue) identified faults in the council’s own online form designed to report problems; there also is no easily-found publicly available email address which people affected can complain to. Her complaint had been unanswered until she raised the issue on a local Resident’s Forum.
Responding to the initial complaint, Labour Group Leader, Councillor Alan Baldock, immediately wrote to Colin Carmichael, Chief Executive of the City Council demanding a full investigation. He warmed that” In addition to this appalling customer service, [this incident damages] the credibility of “preregistration” encouraged by this Council as the hassle free answer. This is now being undermined by this well published failure. To continue an extremely expensive rollout of a demonstrably flawed system, capable of overcharging to such an extent is surly very foolhardy at best. We have clearly been misinformed before we approved this system and it’s “benefits”.
If you have also had problems with the ANPR system we’d love to hear from you. Please email your experience to [email protected]