A number of residents have contacted me about problems with the parking meters in Otley. I took this issue up with Highways and the reply they have sent me is set out below.

“The issue is that the parking machines in Otley do not accept 10p coins produced from 2012. They are made of different metal and they aren’t recognised as legal tender by the coin readers. 

We have ordered new machines for Otley as the existing ones are no longer in production and it is not possible to get upgraded coin readers for them. They are manufactured to order rather than stock items and there has been a delay. The company is British and the machines are manufactured here (the factory is in Swindon) although some parts are sourced abroad. 

There was a proposal to change round the Otley car parks so some that currently charge would become free and vice versa. This is why we did not order new machines when the coins changed in 2012, it would have led to significant extra cost to install them and then move them shortly afterwards. This proposal is not being pursued so we have now placed an order. Most 10p coins in circulation are still pre 2012 & 20p coins are accepted so I don’t think it is necessary to stop charging altogether. We expect installation of the new machines in about 6 weeks.”

I think this is very inconvenient for anyone who wants to use the car parks in Otley. Personally, I had no idea there were different 10p coins post 2012 and Highways should have put a contingency in place. Unless people are carrying copious amounts of change around with them and checking the dates of the coins before they set off it makes parking even more stressful than it is already. I am also concerned that visitors to the town may just decide to go somewhere else and thus the shops in Otley will lose trade. There may also be an issue of people deciding to park in inappropriate locations instead. I have not been advised how much the new machines are costing but I hope that the cost/benefit ratio is worth it.