Councillors have urged people not to panic after broken parking machines have created concerns about the future of going cashless.

Marlborough residents flocked to social media to share their frustration after payment machines in the George Lane and Waitrose car parks in the town were found broken.

The damaged machines meant many locals couldn't park as they were unable to pay using cash and struggled to use the MiPermit app.

“Lots of elderly people don’t know how to use their phones other than to make a call, and the machines obviously weren’t manned by anyone who could help out,” explained resident Rachel Laver.

“I saw loads of elderly people confused and unable to work out how to pay, along with some foreign tourists. Some just went home.”

Similar issues have also been faced at other car parks in Wiltshire.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Royal Wootton Bassett residents battled with the same issue at Boroughfields car park in early 2024.Royal Wootton Bassett residents battled with the same issue at Boroughfields car park in early 2024. (Image: Newsquest)

The confusion caused over 100 residents to panic as word began to spread that the broken machines would be replaced with cashless options.

Many locals pointed out that this was a particular concern given how difficult it can be to find a parking space in Marlborough, and others said it put them off coming into the town.

“Unfortunately my phone doesn’t work in Marlborough. It would exclude most Vodaphone customers as well as the elderly,” said Sally Hughes.

However, Wiltshire Councillor Caroline Thomas has now confirmed that despite ongoing difficulties, Marlborough will not be moving to a cashless payment system.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Brand new Wiltshire Council payment machines are on their way.Brand new Wiltshire Council payment machines are on their way. (Image: Newsquest)

“All the parking meters are in the process of being replaced and will then take every form of payment including wireless cards (Apple or Google Pay), MiPermit and coins,” said Councillor Thomas.

“Wiltshire Council is retaining cash unlike many other councils (Bath for example) even though it’s the most expensive to deal with as coins need to be collected and machines are prone to vandalism.

“This is because it’s recognised that many people still prefer it.”

The councillor did however admit that the rollout of these new machines has been delayed which has caused widespread disruption for many people who use machines that are outdated and prone to breaking.

“But all machines should be replaced in the next one to two months across the county,” she added.

“Wiltshire Council isn’t forcing anyone to use any particular payment. The choice is important.”