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Sittingbourne becomes first in Kent to get the new pound coin

By KentOnline reporter

Residents in a Kent town will be the first to get their hands of the new 12-sided £1 coin as it comes into circulation today.

It has been made available at a select few banks across 14 towns in England and the Santander branch in Sittingbourne High Street is among the lucky ones chosen.

And at the front were mother and daughter Pat Moxham and Sara Simpson who were first to get their hands on the shiny 12-sided version when it opened at 9am.

Sara Simpson from Sittingbourne was the first person to get hold of the new pound coin

Sara Simpson from Sittingbourne was the first person to get hold of the new pound coin

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"Mum wanted the coins but she didn't have an account," said 40-year-old Mrs Simpson, of Grayshott Close, Sittingbourne.
 
"I was going to the gym when she called me so I went to find her.
 
"She was there at 8.30am as she wanted to get them for my two children, Izzy and Amelia, to keep and be able to say they had them on the first day.
 

Video: New pound coin comes to Kent

"It's not like this sort of thing usually happens in Sittingbourne. You would have thought it would have been Canterbury or Maidstone if they were picking somewhere in Kent."

The new coin has been billed as the most secure in the world and aims to stop counterfeiters that have cost the UK economy an estimated £45 million “in recent years”.

But its introduction has left businesses - and councils - counting the cost of changing everything from vending machines and lockers at leisure centres to parking meters.

Ramsgate company Ivor Thomas Amusements says the new £1 coin has cost the company around £100,000.

It hires and maintains fruit machines, jukeboxes, and pool tables in pubs and clubs throughout Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Essex, Hampshire, London and the South East and has had to install a reprogrammed mechanism in more than 2,000 machines.

Phil Godden, an assets manager at family-run company, says the issue is not the new £1, but the fact it comes just six months after the new £5 note came into circulation and a new £10 note being introduced in September.

An Ivor Thomas engineer adapting a coin mechanism to fit the new £1 coins

An Ivor Thomas engineer adapting a coin mechanism to fit the new £1 coins

“If you have a storm you batten down the hatches and you are prepared for it,” he said.

“But the way the government and the Royal Mint have done it they haven’t actually thought about how much it’s going to affect local businesses.

“We are a strong company, we have been going for 40 years, we’re quite lucky but there are companies out there that are really going to suffer.

Santander in Sittingbourne High Street

Santander in Sittingbourne High Street

“They are going to pay out to upgrade their systems for the new pound coin, but then they’re going to have the notes to deal with. I should imagine a lot of them will struggle.”

Councils across Kent are also having to shell out thousands of pounds - with no financial support from the government.

Tonbridge and Malling council has replaced 41 car parking machines across the borough in time for the release of the new £1 coin at a cost of around £141,000.

First new pound coins being released

First new pound coins being released

A spokesman said the lockers at Larkfield Leisure Centre were also being replaced at a cost of £44,000.

Robert Styles, director of Street Scene, Leisure and Technical Services for the council, said: “The car parking machines across Tonbridge and Malling Borough and the lockers at Larkfield Leisure Centre have come to the end of their useful lives and are due for replacement.

“The Council has taken a common sense approach and timed the replacements to coincide with the release of the new £1 coin.

The new coins

The new coins

“In this way we have ensured that we have avoided any additional cost burden.”

Thanet District Council confirmed it has had to change the specification of 105 machines for the new coin, which has cost around £15,500.

“We also have had to purchase a new cash sorting machine at the cost of £8,500,” said a spokesman.

Medway Council also confirmed it has had to upgrade 148 car park pay and display machines and four pay on foot machines, which cost it £16,136.

The new 12-sided £1 coin released in part of Kent today

The new 12-sided £1 coin released in part of Kent today

“We are also looking into the upgrade of mechanisms within our leisure centre lockers,” said a spokesman.

Maidstone council faces paying £6,453 to upgrade its 56 car park meters and Serco, which runs Maidstone Leisure Centre in Willow Way, faces a £3,000 bill to change its locker mechanisms for the new currency.

Meanwhile, Swale Council has had to shell out £4,275 to change its parking pay and display machines.

A spokesman said: “Changes to the pay and display units to accept the new £1 coin were planned in advance, and are being funded from the services budget to ensure that our drivers are able to use the new coins within our car parks.”

The existing £1 coin will cease to be legal tender on October 15.


A brief history of decimalisation:

1968:. Royal Mint moved from Tower Hill to South Wales in preparation for decimalisation. The first 5p and 10p of the new coins, the 5p and 10p, entered circulation in April.

1969:. The world’s first seven-sided coin, the 50p, replaced the 10 -shilling note and reminded consumers of the looming transformation to decimal currency.

1971:. February 15 to be precise or D Day, as it was termed, heralded the country’s change over to decimalisation. The £sd system of 12 pennies making a shilling and 20 shillings a pound was lost to a new generation of calculation.

1980:. The 6d (old pence) is finally de-monetised.

1981:. The last Crown (which had a face value of 25p from decimalisation) was struck. It is, however, still minted for special occasions.

1982:. The 20p came into circulation.

1983:. The £1 coin made its debut. A year later the £1 note was discontinued and officially withdrawn from circulation in 1988.

1984:. The 1/2p disappeared.

1990 & 1992:. The 5p and 10p are re-sized which meant the demise of the old shillings and florinss.

1992 onwards:. Every coin in circulation has carried the head of the reigning monarch, something not accomplished since medieval times.

1994:. £2 coin introduced.

1997:. Smaller 50p coins were developed.

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