A visiting couple has been “put off” returning to a Wiltshire town centre after a “stressful” ordeal trying to pay for parking.

Liz and Nigel Butcher, from Bradfield near Reading, had been visiting Marlborough on Thursday, November 16, when they found themselves unable to pay for parking.

The pensioners had parked in the Hilliers Yard Car Park, behind Waitrose, but all three machines were out of order, and multiple attempts to pay via phone were unsuccessful.

While the pair avoided a parking ticket, Mr Butcher told this paper that the experience threw their plans into chaos.

The 68-year-old said: “We just whistled around, did the minimum, and got out before we got a ticket, we didn’t have lunch and only visited a couple of shops.

“It was a shame and it’s ridiculous when businesses are struggling that they’re making it more difficult to park in the town centre, there should be a card option.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: A file photo of a broken parking machine in WiltshireA file photo of a broken parking machine in Wiltshire (Image: Newsquest)

“There was person after person there, all around our age, who either turned around and went somewhere else or took a chance because they couldn’t park, we just don’t use phone apps.

“It seems to be more and more common now that the machines don't work… we like Marlborough but this would definitely put you off coming back.”

Cllr Caroline Thomas, the cabinet member for transport, revealed that while two of the machines have since been fixed, one is awaiting repair after an attempted theft.

She said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the pay and display parking machines being out of order on November 16 in Hilliers Yard Car Park.

“Of the three parking machines in the car park, two are now working, however the third is currently awaiting repair following an attempted theft. We aim to have all three parking machines working as soon as possible.”

The council has already embarked on a plan to replace all parking machines in Wiltshire, to ensure visitors can reliably continue paying with cash.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Cllr Thomas added: “A programme to replace all parking machines across the county is underway.

“The parking app MiPermit is available in all our car parks and a key benefit of this is that it allows payment for parking from any location and users can extend stays without having to go back to their car or car park.

“However, we appreciate not everyone can make use of the app and all of our parking machines will continue to accept cash, or people can also pay using the automated phone call or text service.”