A DECISION to remove all pay and display parking machines from roads and car parks has been slammed after it was made without a public debate at a council meeting.

Councillor Brian Coleman, responsible for transport on Barnet Council’s Tory administration, gave officers permission to take out the machines as part of a controversial move towards cashless parking.

But it was signed off without going before a committee meeting, meaning residents and opposition councillors had no opportunity to challenge it in a public open debate.

Both Labour and Lib Dem councillors have now “called in” the decision, forcing it to go before a scrutiny committee, on September 5.

Councillor Kath McGuirk, Labour’s transport spokesman, said: “I think residents will be outraged to be brutally honest.

“The way they’ve been totally ignored on parking charges. This is the straw that breaks the camel's back. They are just being used as a cash cow.”

The policy has come under fierce criticism, with claims it discriminates against elderly residents in particular and people without mobile phones.

The council has said 84 shops around the borough will have systems in place to let motorists pay by cash and credit cards face to face.

The authority hopes to save money through the scheme and says it cannot afford to maintain the “ageing and underperforming pay and display infrastructure on the streets and in car parks”.

The Times-Series contacted Cllr Coleman for a response on his mobile but he hung up.