A DRIVER who spent six weeks trying to renew his parking permit ended up paying over the odds when the price went up.

In early April, Andrew Mann, of Ferndale Road, Hove, started trying to renew his parking permit before it ran out at the end of the month.

Whenever he tried to pay for his permit, it would not go through, whether it was a different form of payment or by adjusting his web browser.

Mr Mann said: “I contacted my bank. They said that there have been no requests on their system so it’s not contacting the bank when trying to verify payment. An icon spins and then says there is a problem – contact the card company.

“The phones take half an hour to get through and they can’t help. I have sent off a form with my documents hoping for a call to pay.”

The Argus: Emails Andrew Mann received while trying to get the issue sorted outEmails Andrew Mann received while trying to get the issue sorted out

Earlier this month, the parking permit price went up by £60, angering Mr Mann because he applied before the price rise.

After receiving help from Labour councillor John Allcock, who represents Goldsmid ward, Mr Mann finally received his permit.

He was also given a refund for the price difference because he had records to prove how he had tried to renew his permit in the weeks before the increase.

Mr Mann said: “As soon as they knew that payment system wasn’t working, they could have a status page or advice on how to pay.

“But without an office to go to and an overloaded phone support, the right advice on what to do wasn’t available.

“Having contacted my councillors for help, then things got resolved in a matter of days.”

The Argus: An error message came up whenever Andrew Mann tried to get his parking permitAn error message came up whenever Andrew Mann tried to get his parking permit

Cllr Allcock said that Labour councillors had repeatedly raised concerns about basic services after the challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “We’ve raised concerns on behalf of residents time and again about the issues around renewing parking permits and the IT issues that have plagued the service.

“While we support a transition to digital services, this must be rolled out properly and efficiently, with considerations in place for those who can’t readily access digital services.

“Unfortunately, Mr Mann’s story is a common one, and we need to make it easier for our residents to reach someone at the council on the phone to resolve these issues.

“It’s great that hybrid working offers flexibility to council staff but officers should be able to field residents’ calls even if they are working from home and not in an office.”

The council said: “Because of a technical problem, some of the council’s payment services were non-operational for a short period of time at the beginning of May.

“This affected various council services, including parking. We’re very sorry about this. The problem was quickly resolved. It is understood to have impacted around 10 parking services customers. We honoured the old permit price for these customers.”