VANDALISM which left Solihull Council with a bill of over £60,000 has been blamed for the authoritys controversial decision to turn Mell Squares car park into a pay and display.
Parking services manager at the council, Toby Wilson, said the pay on foot machines have been the target of vandals since 2010.
In a letter to a resident, Mr Wilson said: Over the course of 2011 the two pay stations in the subway connecting the car park to the town centre were attacked a total of four times. We managed to repair each terminal only to have it attacked again within weeks of them returning to service.
The attack in December 2011 was the final straw and we were unable to return the station to service or provide replacements. In total the damage has been estimated at about £35,000 in repair costs and an estimate of loss of income and additional costs is also estimated to be in the region of £30,000.
The move to change the parking system for a trial period at the council-run car park has caused outrage amongst shoppers and retailers.
Mr Wilson argued that the pay and display option was chosen because the machines are more secure, cheaper to buy and have lower running costs.
There will be more pay points in the car park and the council has also launched a pay by phone system for shoppers who do not carry cash.