Wiltshire Council unrepentant at being branded worst for short-changing motorists

John Thomson, Wiltshire Council's deputy leader

John Thomson, Wiltshire Council's deputy leader

First published in Wiltshire by

Wiltshire Council deputy leader John Thomson is unrepentant after the authority was branded the worst culprit in the country for short changing motorists who use its car parks.

A nationwide survery has revealed that Wiltshire made an extra £730,000 from car park fees over three years as none of its machines give change.

Latest figures for 2012/13 saw Wiltshire still top with a £250,000 over-vend, Tunbridge Wells second, making an extra £94,000, followed by St Edmundsbury Borough Council in Suffolk which made £83,000.

A freedom of information request by the Daily Mirror tried to survey all 348 local authorities in England and Wales but only 79 responded.

Mr Thomson, the cabinet member for highways, said this showed that the investigation was flawed and also pointed to the fact that most of the councils that responded were small district councils with far fewer car parks than Wiltshire.

He said: “If you look at the figures from a per centage point of view we are not so different to the others.”

He said it would cost Wiltshire £2.5m to replace the existing machines with ones that give change and cost an extra £633,000 to run as they would have to be serviced several times a day to make sure they had the right change available.

To solve the problem Mr Thomson wants all ticket machines removed from every car park in Wiltshire next year but that does not mean motorists will not have to pay.

Instead of putting money in a slot to get a ticket drivers would use their smart phones to pay and save the council millions of pounds.

He said: “I believe the vast majority of motorists would be happy to use this method if they thought it meant that parking charges could come down.

“This way they would not have to rush back from shopping before their ticket ran out, pay for time they have not used or pay extra because the machine does not give change.

“Of course we realise that not everyone wants to embrace new technology in this way and so we would have to come to an arrangement with nearby shops so they could help people do this.”

Comments (20)

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6:26pm Fri 16 May 14

gingin says...

If the proposed scheme was implemented then the council could make further savings on John Thomson's allowance as a cabinet member for that part of his duties would no longer be needed!

What about the older people who don't own a smart phone?
If the proposed scheme was implemented then the council could make further savings on John Thomson's allowance as a cabinet member for that part of his duties would no longer be needed! What about the older people who don't own a smart phone? gingin
  • Score: 29

7:47pm Fri 16 May 14

melkshamwizard says...

if the councilors were up for re election this year it would be a different story,why cant town councils run the car parks
if the councilors were up for re election this year it would be a different story,why cant town councils run the car parks melkshamwizard
  • Score: 18

5:31am Sat 17 May 14

tobydog2267 says...

He said: “I believe the vast majority of motorists would be happy to use this method if they thought it meant that parking charges could come down."

1. What he believes is irrelevant and a ruse to make this ludicrous quote sound positive.
2. Where's the proof of the 'vast majority'. Just a load of twaddle.
3. 'Thinking' about something doesn't make it happen.
4. 'Parking charges could come down' is a supposition based upon...nothing. So it means? Nothing.

Who does this John Thomson person think he is?

Note to him: We weren't born yesterday. Go and get a proper job.
He said: “I believe the vast majority of motorists would be happy to use this method if they thought it meant that parking charges could come down." 1. What he believes is irrelevant and a ruse to make this ludicrous quote sound positive. 2. Where's the proof of the 'vast majority'. Just a load of twaddle. 3. 'Thinking' about something doesn't make it happen. 4. 'Parking charges could come down' is a supposition based upon...nothing. So it means? Nothing. Who does this John Thomson person think he is? Note to him: We weren't born yesterday. Go and get a proper job. tobydog2267
  • Score: 25

6:23am Sat 17 May 14

politepanda says...

What a load of twaddle!
All this tripe just to divert from the fact that these machines were deliberately installed with a view to further margin of profit.
(Perhaps they could use those extra profits to provide all and sundry with smartphones prior to scrapping them??)
What a load of twaddle! All this tripe just to divert from the fact that these machines were deliberately installed with a view to further margin of profit. (Perhaps they could use those extra profits to provide all and sundry with smartphones prior to scrapping them??) politepanda
  • Score: 23

9:27am Sat 17 May 14

Elboo1992 says...

He obviously thinks he's some kind of god. Bacchus perhaps!
He obviously thinks he's some kind of god. Bacchus perhaps! Elboo1992
  • Score: 13

11:20am Sat 17 May 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

He said: “If you look at the figures from a per centage point of view we are not so different to the others.”

Oh... that's ok then. So Wiltshire isn't the only county ripping off its motorists. Whichever way Mr Thomson attempts to dress up the issue the fact remains that these parking ticket machines are a rip off. Why has he waited for the results of this survey to let us know of his noble quest to remove them? Surely these machines have made enough profit already to pay for updating them?
He said: “If you look at the figures from a per centage point of view we are not so different to the others.” Oh... that's ok then. So Wiltshire isn't the only county ripping off its motorists. Whichever way Mr Thomson attempts to dress up the issue the fact remains that these parking ticket machines are a rip off. Why has he waited for the results of this survey to let us know of his noble quest to remove them? Surely these machines have made enough profit already to pay for updating them? Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: 16

12:57pm Sat 17 May 14

Room101 says...

Must make a new app for mobile, to show everyone free parking in towns and cities.
Must make a new app for mobile, to show everyone free parking in towns and cities. Room101
  • Score: 6

1:26pm Sat 17 May 14

melkshamwizard says...

Taking a line for last of the summer wine.he is the smiling bandito.or as I call him the smiling assassin.he is certainly not a robin hood
Taking a line for last of the summer wine.he is the smiling bandito.or as I call him the smiling assassin.he is certainly not a robin hood melkshamwizard
  • Score: 3

8:51pm Sat 17 May 14

brandx says...

What arrogance!
What arrogance! brandx
  • Score: 7

7:49am Sun 18 May 14

Elboo1992 says...

Well, it's not called WC for nothing.
Well, it's not called WC for nothing. Elboo1992
  • Score: 5

10:48am Sun 18 May 14

beetawix says...

iiwill you be fined for not having a 'smart' phone and will you be able to get back out of the car park?
iiwill you be fined for not having a 'smart' phone and will you be able to get back out of the car park? beetawix
  • Score: 2

7:49am Mon 19 May 14

MDP says...

I bet that the member of staff who took it upon him/herself to submit those figures in response to the FOI request gets into hot water. I expect they will be shot at dawn. Still, let's look on the bright side, it will save a bit more money for paying vital expenses to councillors.

Mr Thomson certainly does have a winning smile, he looks awfully pleased about something or other.
I bet that the member of staff who took it upon him/herself to submit those figures in response to the FOI request gets into hot water. I expect they will be shot at dawn. Still, let's look on the bright side, it will save a bit more money for paying vital expenses to councillors. Mr Thomson certainly does have a winning smile, he looks awfully pleased about something or other. MDP
  • Score: 2

11:56am Mon 19 May 14

chips-in-ham says...

MDP wrote:
I bet that the member of staff who took it upon him/herself to submit those figures in response to the FOI request gets into hot water. I expect they will be shot at dawn. Still, let's look on the bright side, it will save a bit more money for paying vital expenses to councillors. Mr Thomson certainly does have a winning smile, he looks awfully pleased about something or other.
Hes sat on his wallet!
[quote][p][bold]MDP[/bold] wrote: I bet that the member of staff who took it upon him/herself to submit those figures in response to the FOI request gets into hot water. I expect they will be shot at dawn. Still, let's look on the bright side, it will save a bit more money for paying vital expenses to councillors. Mr Thomson certainly does have a winning smile, he looks awfully pleased about something or other.[/p][/quote]Hes sat on his wallet! chips-in-ham
  • Score: 5

4:33pm Mon 19 May 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

shed said "If I had their salary and expenses I wouldn't give a hoot about any ones comments."

So why are you being critical of them...?
shed said "If I had their salary and expenses I wouldn't give a hoot about any ones comments." So why are you being critical of them...? Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: 0

11:18pm Mon 19 May 14

shed says...

Mrs Donnyfly wrote:
shed said "If I had their salary and expenses I wouldn't give a hoot about any ones comments."

So why are you being critical of them...?
are you Mrs Thompson?

As my comments about the arrogant so and so have been removed, no one now knows what you are on about.
[quote][p][bold]Mrs Donnyfly[/bold] wrote: shed said "If I had their salary and expenses I wouldn't give a hoot about any ones comments." So why are you being critical of them...?[/p][/quote]are you Mrs Thompson? As my comments about the arrogant so and so have been removed, no one now knows what you are on about. shed
  • Score: 2

12:25am Tue 20 May 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

shed wrote:
Mrs Donnyfly wrote:
shed said "If I had their salary and expenses I wouldn't give a hoot about any ones comments."

So why are you being critical of them...?
are you Mrs Thompson?

As my comments about the arrogant so and so have been removed, no one now knows what you are on about.
No I'm not.

I dare say all those who read your comment prior to its removal will know what I'm on about.
[quote][p][bold]shed[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mrs Donnyfly[/bold] wrote: shed said "If I had their salary and expenses I wouldn't give a hoot about any ones comments." So why are you being critical of them...?[/p][/quote]are you Mrs Thompson? As my comments about the arrogant so and so have been removed, no one now knows what you are on about.[/p][/quote]No I'm not. I dare say all those who read your comment prior to its removal will know what I'm on about. Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: -3

12:28am Tue 20 May 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

.... plus your comment still appears as a quote in my post, so not only are you quick to insult people, you're also pretty dim.
.... plus your comment still appears as a quote in my post, so not only are you quick to insult people, you're also pretty dim. Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: -4

9:27am Tue 20 May 14

shed says...

Dim Mrs Thompson?

I'd write them all again,not just the one in your quote but they'd get censored once more by the spineless crew at the Getzzworse

This man and Jane Scott, with their arrogant clinging to a dying political dogma are doing no good at all for the people of Wiltshire

Have a look at where he , at his business record and then lets ask why he needs to claim so much in expenses, but it will explain his contempt for us little plebs.

6million quid a year from parking fees, where does it all go?
No potholes in the lanes leading to his house though are there?

Oh the fact he was a Tesco executive speaks volumes.
It's all on line for all to see.

Have a nice day Mrs T. If I've touched a raw nerve, too bad
Dim Mrs Thompson? I'd write them all again,not just the one in your quote but they'd get censored once more by the spineless crew at the Getzzworse This man and Jane Scott, with their arrogant clinging to a dying political dogma are doing no good at all for the people of Wiltshire Have a look at where he [ and probably you, lives, nice house no envy on my part], at his business record and then lets ask why he needs to claim so much in expenses, but it will explain his contempt for us little plebs. 6million quid a year from parking fees, where does it all go? No potholes in the lanes leading to his house though are there? Oh the fact he was a Tesco executive speaks volumes. It's all on line for all to see. Have a nice day Mrs T. If I've touched a raw nerve, too bad shed
  • Score: 7

4:08pm Tue 20 May 14

brasstacks says...

Behind every smile is a story and behind John Thomson's smile is a "Tory story" of a Cons-Cabinet that have never had the slightest bit interest in the Residents of Wiltshire

"Short changing motorists" is only the tip of the iceberg of mis use by the Wilts Cons-Cab of Government Funding, moved around at County Hall to suit their Politics instead of helping the People who pay to have Services provided..

Perhaps if Mt T and his Cons Cabs had not invested so much in IT Systems that do little to help Residents solve issues with W/C, there might have been a few quid left to fund the Services that we do not get and that are far more important than new IT Systems not needed at County Hall ?

Whilst any new ideas that save our County money are worth considering, what we do not need are any more "smart ideas" from a Cabinet Member who with his fellow Cons-Cab Colleagues to date, has not been "smart enough" to spend Government Funding on the People and Services it is allocated for..

Democracy is not picking and choosing how you spend County money, Mr T..

You might be smiling now but hopefully, it will not be for much longer because the People of Wiltshire have had enough of your local Party's Political obsessions and tunnel vision
Behind every smile is a story and behind John Thomson's smile is a "Tory story" of a Cons-Cabinet that have never had the slightest bit interest in the Residents of Wiltshire "Short changing motorists" is only the tip of the iceberg of mis use by the Wilts Cons-Cab of Government Funding, moved around at County Hall to suit their Politics instead of helping the People who pay to have Services provided.. Perhaps if Mt T and his Cons Cabs had not invested so much in IT Systems that do little to help Residents solve issues with W/C, there might have been a few quid left to fund the Services that we do not get and that are far more important than new IT Systems not needed at County Hall ? Whilst any new ideas that save our County money are worth considering, what we do not need are any more "smart ideas" from a Cabinet Member who with his fellow Cons-Cab Colleagues to date, has not been "smart enough" to spend Government Funding on the People and Services it is allocated for.. Democracy is not picking and choosing how you spend County money, Mr T.. You might be smiling now but hopefully, it will not be for much longer because the People of Wiltshire have had enough of your local Party's Political obsessions and tunnel vision brasstacks
  • Score: 1

10:40pm Tue 20 May 14

shed says...

Well said Brasstacks, all that keep this lot in office is a certain percentage of voters that would vote for any monkey wearing a blue rosettte, plus a larger percentage of voter apathy because of that.
Hopefully enough of the blue rosette lot will now be very fed up with being shafted,and taken for granted and the others will be so angry they'll shake off their apathy and help get rid of them next time round.
Well said Brasstacks, all that keep this lot in office is a certain percentage of voters that would vote for any monkey wearing a blue rosettte, plus a larger percentage of voter apathy because of that. Hopefully enough of the blue rosette lot will now be very fed up with being shafted,and taken for granted and the others will be so angry they'll shake off their apathy and help get rid of them next time round. shed
  • Score: -1

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