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Reading to host digital parking permit pilot scheme

By Steve Charnock
17 June 2022

A new parking plan by Reading Council has been unveiled which may see car owners in the town swap their old paper parking permits for digital ones.

The viability of the scheme is set to be tested in a pilot which will soon run in Lower Caversham. Residents using the scheme - which hopes to make parking permits in the town easier and more flexible - will give feedback after the trial. Its rollout will depend on that feedback, as well as other factors.

Digital permits are registered online, meaning parking wardens can instantly check on their devices if a vehicle holds a valid permit or not. As such, no physical permit will need to be displayed on the car's windscreen.

Other councils have run similar schemes for some years, especially across London.

The proposed trial zone in Caversham is '02R', which covers the following roads: Ardler Road, Brackstone Close, Briants Avenue, Champion Road, Coldicutt Street, George Street, Gosbrook Road, Heron Island, Kings Road, Marsack Street, Mill Green, Mill Road, Montague Street, Nelson Road, Piggots Road, Queens Road, Send Road, Southview Avenue, St Johns Road and Washington Road.

Reading Council have said this specific zone is useful for the trail because it is well defined and of a reasonable size (it has just shy of 600 permit holders).

Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport Tony Page had this to say about the scheme: “Digital permits are widely and very successfully used in other parts of the country and if approved following a statutory consultation process, this pilot will provide us with valuable feedback from local residents in the trial area."

“The main advantages of digital permits are that they are instantly issued online, negating the delay and cost of physical permits being posted. The ability to use visitor permits by the hour should also prove popular, as it represents better value for money for local residents."

“If the trial is approved, it is a change for residents who are of course used to seeing physical permits in windscreens. It is important to remind residents that just because a physical permit is not showing, it doesn’t mean a car does not have a permit. Our wardens will be patrolling the residents zone as usual and checking every single vehicle for a valid permit."

“I would stress to residents this would be a pilot, which means we would welcome all feedback, both through the statutory consultation process and during the trial itself if it comes to fruition in the autumn. There are currently 19 residents parking zones in Reading, made up of 16,000 households and 12,000 parking spaces. Any future decision to introduce such a scheme boroughwide would be a major one and would be given careful consideration following evaluation of the pilot.”

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