WORN out pay and display ticket machines in Skipton car parks are to be replaced in time for the weekend's Tour de France.

Councillors were told new machines - featuring a card payment option - would be installed in the first week of July.

Meanwhile, councillors have been asking why the machines have taken so long to replace - and how much money Craven District Council has lost as a result of them not working.

Paul Ellis, the council's head of services told the policy committee that some of the machines were substantially past their life expectancy, with some 30 years old.

He confirmed all would be replaced and the new machines would give change and accept credit and debit card payment.

Cllr Chris Knowles-Fitton (Cons, Barden Fell) said the new machines should also feature a texting service which alerted people to the imminent end of their stay - and giving them the option of extending it by text message.

He added he was aware of complaints and that it would be put right in the near future.

But Cllr Robert Heseltine (Ind, Skipton) said estimates for income from the car parks had been "deliberately understated as a cautious approach so that any income deficit should not appear".

"We are all aware that the car parking ticket machines have not operated successfully for at least 18 months - the effect being that considerable income has been lost," he said.

"Customers have received tickets of less value than they paid for and then fined by the super efficient, enthusiastic parking enforcement attendants."

Meanwhile, Cllr Andy Solloway (Ind, Skipton) although not a member of the policy committee, said he had also raised the issue.

"It is appalling that the council is losing so much revenue. On a recent Saturday, only one out of the five machines in Coach Street and Cavendish Street car parks were working, it is a phenomenal amount of money to lose," he said.

Cllr Solloway said he had asked whether the company now responsible for the machines would have to recompense the council for any losses.

"What we have at the moment is people arriving in the town and not being able to get a parking ticket, then they run the risk of getting an enforcement ticket."