A RETIRED coalman has delivered a warning after a trip to a beauty spot near Petersfield left him unsatisfied.

Much has been said and written these past few weeks about Hampshire County Council’s budget woes.

They’re looking to make £132million of savings, with recycling centres, social services, highway maintenance and more under threat.

So you might think they’d be grateful for some cash, but Leslie Pateman couldn’t give them a penny when he recently visited Queen Elizabeth Country Park.

After walking six miles from Petersfield to the visitor centre, he was unable to use cash to buy coffee and cake because the attraction is card-only.

So made the return journey a little undernourished, while the experience has given him food for thought.

“I feel the older generation is being pushed out because the younger generation know more about technology,” said the 67-year-old.

“It was only £7 but that’s £7 they’ve turned away. I don’t know what profit they would make out of a coffee and slice of cake but it’s still a bit of profit they’ve lost.”

Leslie’s son, Richard, who runs World of Inks on Lavant Street, has shared his father’s annoyance. He said: “This cashless thing really frustrates me, because there’s plenty of people like my dad.

“When card readers or the WiFi go down there’s always a sign saying cash only. We should still have the freedom to be able to use card or cash.”

A spokesperson for HCC said the council was sorry to hear about Leslie’s experiences at QECP, and has insisted that other payment options can be available.

They said: “The park has been cashless and taking only card payments since 2019 and has been successfully operating this way for most of our customers ever since.

“Occasionally, we do have customers who don’t have access to a card or find their card payment is not working – where this is the case, we will do our best to come to an arrangement with the customer.”