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Frank Skinner fans queue for an hour – just to pay for parking

Frank Skinner fans queue for an hour – just to pay for parking

Audience members from the Leas Cliff Hall wait to pay for parking (Picture: Natasha Kerrigan/SWNS)

Theatregoers were forced to stay behind for more than an hour to use a ticket machine after the council cut off their free parking.

Attendees of a Frank Skinner gig in Folkestone, Kent, last Thursday at Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone were subject to a new parking system causing ‘unnecessary chaos’.

Folkestone and Hythe District Council cut three hours of free parking at Sandgate Road car park after introducing an automatic number-plate recognition system.

Charges now apply until 9pm every evening, but theatregoers say more ticket machines need to be installed as the current set-up is an ‘accident waiting to happen’.

Natasha Kerrigan, 51, left the gig around 10pm and was forced to queue for an hour as audience members scrambled to get to the two ticket machines.

Ms Kerrigan said: ‘I had no idea how difficult the council has made it to enjoy a night out in Folkestone.

‘The new system photographs your number plate on the way in and you pay on your return, but it’s ill-thought-out and is an accident waiting to happen.

‘There was a line of people snaking around the car park, blocking cars from leaving their spaces and generally putting people at risk of being hit. It was unnecessary chaos.’

A new parking system caused ‘unnecessary chaos’ with queues snaking around the building (Picture: KMG/SWNS)

The ouncil recommends signing up for an online Autobill account on the authority’s website to avoid the queues.

But Ms Kerrigan says a number of audience members were unaware of the new rules and she thinks the system ‘has to be changed quickly before there is an incident’.

She added: ‘The Frank Skinner crowd was a very patient group of people; many others would not have been so tolerant.

‘Lots of us tried to log into the Autobill app but with several tonnes of concrete above us, the reception was poor.’

In a statement, the council said the authority is ‘aware of delays caused by people queuing at the payment terminals following evening events’.

ANPR cameras were added to Sandgate Road car park in Folkestone (Picture: KMG/SWNS)

They said: ‘Two additional mini touchscreen payment terminals have been ordered and are due to be installed later this month.

‘This, along with improvements to the ANPR software, including enabling blue badge holders to register in advance, will help to reduce the wait some residents and visitors have experienced in recent weeks.

‘We would also encourage motorists to register for Autobill, an automatic parking payment system.

‘This means they’ll not need to visit a payment machine at the end of their stay at the Sandgate Road car park and can drive straight out.’

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