The town’s car parks are now under the full control of the council in a move expected to save £1.8m.

There could also be savings for the public, with Reading Borough Council (RBC) considering off-peak tariffs and payment bands based on environmental impact.

The car parks, contracted out to NCP, returned to Reading Borough Council (RBC) management on October 4, after a three-month handover period.

The council expects to make savings by using other council services in managing and maintaining the car parks, such as cleaning services.

Simon Beasley, network and parking manager, said: “We now have an in-house management team rather than using an external, commercial team that were making quite a lot of money out of Reading.

“We can carry on running our car parks as we are and we will save some money against that previous contract, but this report highlights some good opportunities for us to make some investment and changes to the way they are managed on a daily basis.

“This is a positive outcome for the council and there is great opportunity in, not just saving money, but actually managing car parks in the way we want to manage them for the benefit of Reading.”

The car parks returned to council control are: Broad Street Mall and Queens Road, Cattle Market, Dunstall Close, Recreation Road, King’s Meadow, Chester Street and Civic B.

The sites were run by NCP for 11 years, from 2007, and the company had four years left on its contract when RBC activated a voluntary termination clause in July.

A contract review found that ending the contract early would save the council around £1.8m over the four-year period.

The transfer was discussed at the traffic management sub-committee, on Thursday, November 8.

Mr Beasley’s report states: “We now seek alternative opportunities rather than increase car parking prices.

“One idea, for example, is to explore an off-peak tariff that encourages visits to the town centre during quieter periods of the day or week.

“This may be particularly attractive at Christmas when roads can be so much busier during the peaks with extra shopping traffic.

“Another tariff opportunity may also include differing payment bands based on the environmental impact of the vehicle.”

The council is also looking into opportunities to use solar power car charging technology, which it says would save on energy bills.

The report specified a desire to invest in Cattle Market ‘to offer a higher quality product to meet the demand in commuter travel once the Elizabeth line opens’.

Councillor Tony Jones, lead member for adult social care, proclaimed of the scheme: “Corbyn’s car parks!”.