THE new car parking machines in the town, particularly in Waitrose car park, are of a poor design in my view.

On Friday last, a queue had formed – in fact it had been there for most of the morning I understand, trying to obtain tickets.

First one puts in one’s car number which many do not remember, so returned to their car to check, then go back to the machine, having lost their place in the queue.

Having got to the machine one has to enter this registration number into a minute key board.

Back one goes to get one’s glasses, losing your place in the queue again.

Some with large hands had great difficulty punching in the numbers.

While I watched there were disagreements and raised voices. This is not a good advert for the town, especially if, having just finished your journey and are looking for toilets – some 10 minutes walk away– in a hurry. Councils generally through the UK made £667million from the already overtaxed motorist so come on West Dorset District Council can you not put in sensible machines? Ones we can see.

What was wrong with the old ones?

COLIN SPARKES Wellfields Drive Bridport

What a wonderful Christmas present

WHAT a wonderful Christmas present the new car parking machine was.

A shiny new, streamlined, slender, elegant machine, its chrome keyboard glinting and reflecting the morning sunlight, which, coupled with the pale yellow lettering, renders intelligent use of the keyboard impossible.

Up to the machine, cash in hand, the five in front of me displaying varying degrees of knowledge and skill took several minutes to clear when I was stopped in my tracks by the request for the car registration number first.

Back to the car, a long walk back, muttering my number over and over so as to remember it.

Only seven in front of me this time, yet finally I had my ticket.

Back at the car I realised that I had accidentally transposed the car registration letters.

Fortunately the machine is unable recognise this and will accept whatever you put in.

However, in the event that you overstay the correct number appears on the parking ticket because the warden copies it straight from your number plate.

The impact of this action is going to be felt by many people, the senior citizens of our community.

The infirm and disabled, mothers with children to watch in a busy car park area and all those who are not computer literate or have no understanding of the electronic age. We hear many assurances of how the district council is doing its best to save money, when at the same time, we have officers of the council spending tens of thousands of pounds on these machines.

Were the public consulted?

Not to my knowledge.

A machine was trialled at the Rax Lane car park and I am aware that a number of people took the trouble to contact the council to voice their concerns at the problems encountered at the machines.

By way of justification it was said that it would prevent tickets which had not time expired being passed on to others.

One of great joys in life is the generous gesture of passing on a ticket, in reality, for a space already paid for. It gives the ‘feel good factor’ and no-one loses by it.

And the amount possibly regained by the WDDC is so low that the debt for these machines will hang around the neck of the district council for many years to come.