Drivers struggle to escape Leighton Buzzard car park due to technology trouble

West Street car park, Leighton Buzzard
West Street car park, Leighton Buzzard

Frustrated shoppers were stuck for up to half an hour in Leighton Buzzard’s West Street car park, after broadband troubles meant the barrier wouldn’t open.

One 73-year-old driver, who contacted the LBO, had hoped to leave the car park at 11.10am last Tuesday, but was trapped until about 11.35am, as a faulty broadband connection meant the camera couldn’t recognise car registration numbers in order to raise the barrier.

Each motorist had to press the exit intercom to contact security, and escaping the “dingy car park” proved to be a slow process...

The Heath Road resident, who was late for an appointment, claimed: “There were about ten cars in front of me and the barrier wasn’t going to let us out. I was on the second floor but I think the queue went up to the third.

“People were just turning their cars off, waiting politely and being very British.

“When you got to the barrier you had to press the button and speak to the security company, but when I told the lady I was in Leighton Buzzard car park, she said: ‘where are you?’ The clue had been in the statement ‘Leighton Buzzard car park’!

“I have been caught out before since the council got the new number plate recognition system, and the camera has not recognised my car’s registration number.

“The payment machines are also in the dark, they no longer have a full-time attendant and there is a lot of litter.”

The resident contacted Central Bedfordshire Council and received an apology, informing him that there had been a BT broadband issue.

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesman, said: “The new number plate recognition equipment was installed in May 2017 as the preferred method of technology.

“BT can suffer the same issues you may have at home where occasionally you can lose broadband connection.

“Unfortunately this meant the equipment went down for a short time at our Leighton Buzzard car park. When this happens we override the barriers to let people out.

“There are still security patrols at the car park, with three patrols a day.”

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