Residents have criticised Dorset Council’s decision to scrap cash payments at its car parks.

Dorset Council announced that users to its car parks will no longer be able to use cash to pay and will instead have to use an app on a smart phone or call a number and pay by card.

Residents took to social media to raise their concerns with one branding the council ‘selfish’.

One said it was not thought through and ‘discrimination against those who don’t have smart phones’ and another said it was a ‘crazy idea that the council have come up with in these times when people are still shopping for other people in isolation’.

However, another said: “Personally, I would not fancy having to touch the keypad to enter my [car] reg in any car park. Would you?”

The issue of phone signal was brought up, with some having problems are certain car parks as they could not get a signal on their phone.

Dorset Council had previously scrapped fees, but after travel restrictions were eased, the charges have returned to the council’s open car parks.

The move to contactless payments is to reduce physical contact with ticket machines. This can be done by downloading the free Just Park app on a smartphone a registering car and card details or calling 01305 235498 and having a payment card ready.

Instructions on how to use the payment methods are displayed on ticket machines.

Dorset Council’s Leader, Cllr Spencer Flower, said: “Throughout the pandemic all councils have had to react to a rapidly changing situation, and our priority has always been to protect the health and wellbeing of Dorset residents above all else.

“We continue to ask visitors to 'think twice' about coming to our county at this time.

“However, after closely monitoring what is happening at various locations around Dorset over the past week, we have taken the sensible, but very difficult, decision to adapt our approach in order to deal with emerging problems.

“There are no perfect solutions at this time of crisis. Striking the balance between looking after the safety and health of all our residents while discouraging the mass gathering of people at our many beautiful tourist destinations will remain difficult for the foreseeable future.

“I would like to thank town and parish councils for working with us on these arrangements. And I would particularly like to thank all Dorset residents for their patience and understanding. Dorset Council is working non-stop to rise to the challenge of Covid-19 and I remain incredibly proud of our efforts during these unprecedented times.”

Key workers can continue to park for free until further notice with the display of a relevant pass, but should not park in areas with existing restriction, such as yellow lines, or anywhere that causes an obstruction. Key workers can also register for free parking by emailing parking services, providing their name, evidence of employer details and vehicle registration number. They will receive a response and details added to a system so they are not issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.

Car parks at visitor destinations, including beaches and country parks, across Dorset will stay closed for the time being. Do not park in restricted areas outside of the car park or its entrance as this will result in enforcement.

Lyme Regis Town Council has announced that its car parks and toilets will remain closed.

This decision will be pending review following the Prime Minister's announcement that people can now travel for exercise.

The mayor, Cllr Brian Larcombe, said: “The town council’s car parks and public toilets will remain closed for the time being, pending review.

“It seems sensible to align our facilities with Dorset Council's and their announcement that they are keeping their toilets and car parks closed in Lyme Regis."