Councils in race over new coins

Hundreds of car park pay and display machines in the West Midlands have been upgraded to cope with changes to 5p and 10p coins.

Hundreds of car park pay and display machines in the West Midlands have been upgraded to cope with changes to 5p and 10p coins.

Councils in the region have spent £64,000 upgrading and recalibrating their machines because the new coins, available this month, are 10 per cent thicker than the existing ones. The Royal Mint does not expect coins to be in general circulation until April because banks and Post Offices will still have supplies of the old ones to last.

Only Sandwell Council still has to finish an upgrade to 108 machines which will cost taxpayers £20,736.

But Councillor Derek Rowley said: “The adjustments will all be completed in time.”

Dudley Council paid £17,340 to change the settings of 80 machines in November and Walsall Cou-ncil spent £4,270 to alter 58 machines.

Wolverhampton City Cou-ncil spokesman Tim Clark said: “All of Wolverhampton’s parking pay machines have been re-tuned.

“There are 30 off-street machines, 49 on-street machines and five pay-on- exit machines.

“This work was completed in July – we did it early because we anticipated there would be a heavy demand on the contractors.”

The work cost Wolverhampton taxpayers £6,472 but council leader Roger Lawrence said he believed the government should reimburse the costs.

Cannock Chase Council had to replace its machines and bought 20 refurbished ones at a total cost of £13,000.

Lichfield District Council spent £2,240 on 32 machines. Wyre Forest managed to upgrade 39 machines at no extra cost while South Staffordshire only has two parking machines, due to be replaced anyway.