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Agenda item

Replacement Pay and Display Parking Machines

To recommend to Council the setting aside of capital receipts for the replacement of machinery.

Subject To Call In::No - Recommendation to Council.

Decision:

That it be RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL:

1.       That capital funding of £117,000 be allocated from the Capital Receipts Reserve for the replacement of car park pay and display machines across all authority-owned and charged car parks.  

2.       That authority be delegated to the Head of Finance and Asset Management to procure suitable parking pay and display machines that offer cash and card payment options with a remote back office function.

Minutes:

58.1          The report of the Head of Finance and Asset Management, circulated at Pages No. 250-254, outlined a request for a capital budget of £117,000 to replace the ageing parking pay and display machines within the Borough Council’s car parks. The Committee was asked to recommend to Council that the capital funding requested be approved and that authority be delegated to the Head of Finance and Asset Management to procure suitable parking pay and display machines that offered cash and card payment options with a remote back office function. 

58.2          The Head of Finance and Asset Management explained that the Borough Council managed 10 car parks across Tewkesbury and Winchcombe towns which currently had an ageing stock of pay and display machines that had not been replaced for more than 13 years. The age of the machines was causing a lot of problems in terms of frequent breakdowns and difficulty in sourcing parts as well as the issue of not holding data centrally and offering a lack of functionality for payments etc. Replacing the machines would give an opportunity to offer card payment for users and remote access for Officers via a back-office portal which would receive live data of car park usage and any machine faults, as well as reducing the ongoing maintenance costs of the machines. The popularity of the Council’s cashless system via ‘Ringo’ had been helpful and that, along with better machines, meant the current provision of 18 machines could be reduced to 12 as there would not be the requirement for more than one machine in the smaller car parks as a back up in case of breakdowns. The costs within the report were for the most expensive machines and the highest number that could be required; this was likely to be reduced considerably through the procurement process and as the number of machines was agreed. Any money that was not required would go back into balances.

58.3          Members agreed that the current machines were at the end of their life and needed replacing but some questioned whether they needed to have a cash option at all now people were much more used to contactless payments, it was felt this would also reduce the likelihood of vandalism of, and theft from, the machines. In response, the Head of Development Services agreed that the Council had seen a great uplift in the past few months of people using the payment app and the added functionality of contactless in the new machines would benefit many more people but there were still those that wanted to pay cash and it was felt that, particularly in the short to medium term, that ability should still be offered. Certainly, in the longer term it may be a consideration to move away from cash payments entirely. In terms of the security of the machines, this had improved significantly in recent years meaning they were far less likely to be broken into and, in addition, they were concreted into the ground so it was also difficult to steal the whole machine. In terms of the funding, the Head of Finance and Asset Management agreed that it was a difficult balance given the Council did not have very much money to spend at the moment; however, the current machines were coming to the end of their useful life and the Council did have capital reserves to fund smaller projects such as this which should reduce the resources needed to ensure they were operational. In response to a query regarding the costs of collecting cash from the machines, the Head of Finance and Asset Management explained that the charge to the Council was made on the cash collected rather than physically having to go to empty the machines.

58.4          In terms of the costs of the machines, the Head of Finance and Asset Management confirmed that Officers had spoken to all of the main providers and from those three, the highest price had been used in the report so he was confident the procurement process would bring the project in at a lower cost. Back office costs would be included in the overall price so it was not just about the cost of the machinery and obviously the tenders would have to be assessed on a like for like basis to ensure the Council was achieving the best value for money. He was happy to provide Members with the informal quote received to date, but that information was liable to change as the Council went through the procurement process. He was of the view that there would be some savings in Officer time as well as direct cashable savings; although there was not very many hours of a post associated with the role so there would not be cashable savings on man hours as such.

58.5          Accordingly, it was

Action By:DCE

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