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Ashton’s cashless parking system suspended ahead of full review
Monday 7th January 2019 @ 12:21 by Tom Greggan
Ashton Business News Tameside

Tameside Council Executive Leader, Cllr Brenda Warrington, has suspended the cashless on-street parking system in Ashton.

From 2pm today, January 7th, all parking charges, restrictions and enforcements in the specific area covered by RingGo will be removed, so that a full review can be carried out.

Ashton businesses and shoppers were up in arms after the introduction of the cashless system in November required drivers to call, text or download a smartphone app to park in parts of the town centre, including Stamford Street, Even the free 30-minute parking still has to be logged with the app.

Then, the following week, Tameside Council suspended the enforcement of any parking charges in the area ‘until signage regarding the new system was clear enough,’ and cancelled tickets that had already been issued.

“The system is still in place and people should use continue to use it,” a Council statement read at the time. “Enforcement will be back up and running as soon as we are satisfied with the signage.”

Ashton MP Angela Rayner recently called on Tameside Council to review the system, claiming it had caused “misery and mayhem” for traders and shoppers.

But now, the cashless system has been suspended entirely so that Tameside Council can have the time and opportunity to carry out a full review.

In a statement, Cllr Brenda Warrington said:

“I have taken the decision to suspend the cashless on street parking system (RingGo) in Ashton-under-Lyne. All parking charges, restrictions and enforcement in this specific area will be removed with immediate effect (from 2pm on 7 January 2019) in order that we have the time and opportunity for a full review to be carried out.

“The scheme was introduced in early November last year following a detailed feasibility study, and completion of all the necessary processes including statutory consultation and decision by the Strategic Planning and Capital Monitoring Panel back in 2017 prior to my time as Executive Leader.  To assist users with the new parking arrangements, the scheme was phased across two stages. Enforcement through Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) was suspended for a period to deal with signage issues and was fully reinstated at the end of December.

“While the vast majority of people have used the system successfully, some have struggled with the cashless approach and traders have said they feel it has had an impact on their businesses. Having looked carefully at all the evidence available to me, and listened to feedback, I have taken the decision to suspend the system. Over the next few weeks, I will consult with colleagues and others on the most appropriate replacement that meets the needs of shoppers, visitors and traders alike.

“I hope this decision brings the current issues to a close so we can now focus on what promises to be an exciting year for Ashton-under-Lyne in 2019. When Vision Tameside is completed in the spring, the town centre will have an impressive new building housing an advanced skills centre for Tameside College, as well as a joint public service centre for Tameside Council and Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group, plus a new Wilko store. A library, customer services, Citizens Advice Bureau, credit union, welfare rights and Job Centre Plus will also be located in the complex.

“Once the new building is completed, work will commence to finalise the civic square creating a fantastic new public space alongside the already transformed outdoor market area. Bollards will be used so pedestrians have priority between 10am and 4pm. This will increase safety by allowing people to shop without having to worry about cars and vans. Construction of a new transport hub is also underway. When finished, it will make Ashton-under-Lyne town centre much more accessible by public transport.

“Taken together these improvements will ensure Ashton-under-Lyne town centre will be a brighter and better place for visitors and shoppers alike, with increasing footfall supporting local businesses.”