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Broken car park ticket machines in Stowmarket cost Mid Suffolk District Council

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Tens of thousands of pound of income was lost by Mid Suffolk District Council as a result of three broken car park ticket machines.

Data published ahead of the council's cabinet meeting today revealed a £46,000 financial hit because of the issue in Stowmarket.

According to the financial report the machines for Milton Road, Bury Street and Union Street car parks were out of action for a month in the summer due to difficulties sourcing parts needed to repair them.

Broken ticket machines in Milton Road (31163673)
Broken ticket machines in Milton Road (31163673)

The broken machines accounted for a £35,000 loss in income, coupled with a further £11,000 hit in lost excess charge notices -fines for not having a ticket or overstaying.

Despite the lost income, which is used to prevent cuts to front line services, the council says its income will still be in the black by the end of the financial year.

A spokeswoman said: "A small number of our ticket machines were out of order last summer. The machines were old and the parts no longer manufactured.

"For a while our supplier managed to fix any problems using parts from older machines in their stock but there comes a time when they are no longer able to salvage parts.

"We are now replacing all the old machines and upgrading others to make sure this situation does not arise again.

"The money we receive from our car parks is just one of many ways that we bring income into the council to fund our services, so although important it's not the only form of income we receive.

"We set our budget each year, but things can change and we plan for this and manage it.

"The variance on car park income can be managed within the overall budget and we are still forecasting a favourable variance at year end."

The car parks are among the 14 the council runs, according to its website, with those three totalling 283 spaces.

The council's opposition Green group questioned why ticket sales had impacted so badly when most car parks have two or more machines and added that there had been issues with underground cabling which took time to find and remedy.