AN ELDERLY resident from Sonning struggled with “raging toothache” for four days after an out-of-order council car parking machine meant she could not park her car in order to visit her dentist.

The elderly woman was faced with paying by phone after she found that coin payments were not being taken at the Cockpit Path car park in Wokingham earlier this year.

Councillor Mike Haines, a ward member for Sonning, told fellow council members: “She’s 74 and she couldn’t work out how to use her phone to book the ticket. She’d got raging toothache and she’d wanted to go to the dentist.

“She couldn’t get a ticket so she couldn’t go to the dentist, so she sat there suffering for about four days until she worked out where she could park.

“A traffic warden came up to her and said you’ve got to go because you’re going to get a ticket, or you can use your phone. She hadn’t a clue how to use her phone.”

Clare Lawrence, assistant director,  place at WBC, told Cllr Haines that most machines in the borough have become “much more adaptable” as users are able to make a payment by cash, app, card or phone at car parks across the borough.

Councillors also heard about plans to replace a number of car parking machines in the borough with new ones.

The elderly woman’s predicament was discussed at a meeting where the council’s car parking strategy was being considered.

Executive member for highways, councillor Pauline Jorgensen, asked members for their views on parking issues in the borough as Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) looks to develop its parking management plan.

The plan moves forward after Cllr Jorgensen assumed the position of highways guru from Cllr Anthony Pollock in December 2018.

Clare Lawrence said: “Parking is a significant issue for people these days. We as officers want to get your input so we don’t get it wrong.

“There was a change of heart about where we should be focusing. There are clearly challenges with what we need to review and think about doing.”

Cllr Jorgensen added: “We need to get a set of views that represent the whole borough and then do something.”

Councillors at the community and corporate overview and scrutiny meeting raised their immediate concerns about parking in the borough.

Cllr Clive Jones asked if there could be more warden patrols in Earley and at Dinton Pastures, while Cllr Guy Grandison called for closer parking monitoring at schools.

After suggestions had been made, Cllr Jorgensen said any suggestions that would come at a cost to the council would need to be accompanied by an explanation of how the proposal would be funded.

Chairman of the committee, Cllr Grandison is set to urge all of the borough’s councillors to submit their views to the highways team before April 14.