News / Bristol

Upgrades for new £1 coins to cost Weston Pier £15,000

By Ellie Pipe, Monday Mar 27, 2017

Shoppers anticipating the launch of the new £1 coin on Tuesday should spare a thought for bosses at Weston-super-Mare’s most famous tourist attraction – who have had to fork out £15,000 in preparation.

More than 500 coin-operated machines can be found on the Grand Pier, and maintenance teams have been working for months to upgrade turnstiles, arcade machines, video games and coin changers so that they will accept both the new 12-sided £1 coin and its older counterpart ready for the busy summer season.

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Maintenance manager Tim Moyle told Bristol24/7 that the pier is uniquely affected by the arrival of the new coin because  have so many machines.

During a busy summer day, as many as £20,000 worth of £1 coins can pass through here.

“We were aware, probably about 18 months ago, that The Royal Mint was looking to introduce it. Towards the back end of last year, we were able to get sample coins to start the reprogramming process.

“We have had about four months to get the job done at great cost. And that cost comes off our bottom line as a business.

“It has to be done because by the autumn of this year, the old pound coin will be out of circulation and we won’t be able to accept them anymore. It’s a reasonable hit to the operating bottom line profit for the business though and the Government has given no help at all in this.

“It’s just a cost we have to bear. We have made the changes in house but it has had staffing implications in terms of cost as well.”

The Royal Mint is replacing current £1 coins for the first time in 30 years because of their vulnerability to sophisticated counterfeiters. It claims that secret features of the new 12-sided coin will make it the most secure in the world.

Both old and new quids will be legal tender until October 15, when the old version will be withdrawn from circulation and will no longer be accepted as currency.

People will still be able to take their old £1 coins to the bank after October 15, but The Royal Mint is encouraging savers to take them sooner rather than later.

Moyle added that the pier will take another hit of around £2,000 when it has to disable the mechanism allowing machines to accept the old £1 coin.

 

Read more: ‘Why Greece should be envious of Weston’

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