Northampton's new parking meters don't take cards... and don't give change

One of the new council parking meters, in Derngate
One of the new council parking meters, in Derngate

New parking arrangements in Northampton have left some motorists scratching their heads.

The town centre changes came into force on Monday and include extra on-street parking bays as well as four-hour bays in St John’s Street and Derngate.

There are now designated loading areas and disabled bays in St Giles Street and pay and display charges for parking bays in Abington Street.

But drivers have begun to notice that the new meters installed by Northamptonshire County Council neither allow them to use cards nor give change.

A council spokesman said the choice of meter model was taken on the basis of cost.

However, he added that the machines can be modified in future.

He said: “The new on-street parking payment machines in Abington Street and Derngate, Northampton, are currently cash-only but could be modified at a later date to allow for card payments.

“A number of options for the machines were considered but the cash-only option presented the lowest cost choice for the county council, which is important in the current financial climate.”

On-street parking charges in Northampton were currently in operation between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday.

As of November 26, parking charges are in force from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week with any one-hour bays becoming two-hour to bring uniformity.

The aim of the changes was to improve the availability of parking, reduce congestion and bring consistency to the service across the town.

Cllr Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “I fully support the changes for Northampton town centre.

“The review of the town centre parking restrictions had been long overdue, and the amendments reflect changes in the demand for parking, which is now seven days a week.

“I believe that the increase in the amount of parking spaces and to extend the charging hours will make the restrictions clearer and simpler, whilst encouraging the turnover of parking spaces which will benefit local businesses.”

During the changes, motorists are reminded to check the information displayed on traffic signs and follow directions on ticket machines before parking.