‘Fix on-street parking meters or lose visitors to Worthing’

John Albon at one of the parking meters in Worthing
John Albon at one of the parking meters in Worthing

Faulty on-street parking meters have left a retired senior policeman unable to park in Worthing five times in the last few weeks.

John Albon, of Brighton Road in Shoreham, is so fed up with the ‘totally unreliable’ machines that he is threatening to stop visiting businesses in the town.

The 71-year-old said: “It’s very irritating. It’s a major problem and Worthing is going to lose visitors.”

Mr Albon has been left ‘effectively disabled’ while he recovers from a back operation and relies on being able to park close to the places he visits, instead of using car parks.

If he comes across a faulty meter, he said: “It’s just really not possible for me to wander off and find another meter.”

In one of the first incidents, Mr Albon tried to park on the seafront outside Splashpoint leisure centre at around 9.45am but the meter would not accept his coins.

He called the helpline on the meter to explain but no one answered, so he gave up on a swim and returned home.

In the last few weeks he has experienced the same issue with two machines in Steyne Gardens, three machines in Portland Road and two in Marine Parade – and said that each time other drivers have also be left in the same predicament.

As well as visiting the gym for hydroptherapy to help recover from his operation, Mr Albon enjoys eating and drinking in Worthing – but said he will go to Brighton instead unless the council acts to fix the ‘old and breaking down’ meters.

“In Brighton the machines are online so you can pay easily. Why can’t Worthing do this?” he said.

A West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We were sorry to hear of the problems this gentleman had with the machines.

“We know that the machines in Worthing are approaching their end of life and we do try to make repairs as and when we can.

“However, in some cases, machines can be beyond repair or it does not make financial sense to carry out a full replacement of an individual one.

“We will certainly make the contractor aware of these machines’ locations to see what can be done.

“At a wider level, we are in the process of finalising a bid to replace the entire Worthing stock and a decision will be made soon by the Cabinet Member on whether to replace like-for-like – old cash-only machines for new cash-only ones – or to upgrade to card/contactless.

“We are awaiting a final quote/business case from the contractor.

“Hopefully, there will be a decision made in the coming week or two.”