The way parking permits operate could change for good in Reading as the council has begun a trial into making them digital.

In August, the council ran a consultation into making parking permits paperless by introducing digital permits.

The digital permits work by registering a number plate to a parking zone, that is added to a database, allowing parking enforcement officers to quickly check whether a car is parked in the right place or not.

Now the council has decided to launch a trial for digital parking permits in Caversham.

The trial will take place in parking zone 02R in Lower Caversham.

The zone covers King’s Road, Queens Road and Coldicutt Street in the area, with the trial beginning this month.

Reading Chronicle: Caversham Parking Zone 02R, involved in the pilot scheme for digital parking permits in Reading. Credit: Reading Borough CouncilCaversham Parking Zone 02R, involved in the pilot scheme for digital parking permits in Reading. Credit: Reading Borough Council

If successful, the digital parking permits could be rolled out throughout Reading.

At a recent meeting, Tony Page lead councillor for transport (Labour, Abbey) said: “Whilst we in principle are committed to a wider expansion, we will treat this trial very seriously.

“We will evaluate the comments and the experience, and we will build on the lessons learnt locally as well as those in other authorities.”

Digital parking permits have been used for a number of years in London Boroughs and other cities and towns outside the capital.

The digital permits allow visitors to park by the hour.

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The results of the trial will be considered by the council’s traffic management sub committee in 2023.

There are lingering concerns about parking provision for people who are ‘offline’.

People are able to access parking permits offline by asking for a application form from the council, which can then be sent back for the permit to be approved and dispatched by post.

Few people in parking zone 02R are offline.

From October 2021 to April this year, 451 parking permits were issued and only five of these were offline applications.

Out of 582 residents visitors permits applied for in that time, only 14 were offline.

Cllr Page said: “We are proceeding cautiously, because anything involving IT is something that needs to be treated cautiously.

“Particularly old Luddites such as myself take a bit more convincing than some of the youngsters.

“Nonetheless, there are clearly benefits to be had, but they’re also clearly issues that we need to ensure don’t deprive less literate, less IT versed members of the public from the service that we’re offering.”

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During the trial, residents will only be able to apply for permits online.

The council will provide support to anyone who is struggling to apply, with its enforcement officers deployed to the area to reassure neighbours that their digital passes are being regularly checked.

More information about the scheme is available at 

The decision to begin the trial was unanimously agreed by the council’s  traffic management sub committee on Wednesday, September 14.