Paper parking permits will be scrapped as part of major changes to parking in Reading as more services are digitised.

The change is set to affect 17,000 households and 12,000 parking spaces in the borough.

The new system will be going live from November 1.

The decision to scrap the paper permits was made following discussion by the council’s traffic management sub-committee last Wednesday (September 13).

John Ennis, (Labour, Southcote) lead council for climate strategy and transport, said:  “It is about time we considered digital permits as some people would say, residents, come into the 21st Century.

“I think it’s primarily for the ease of residents. I mean, it may present a cost saving exercise which would be excellent, but really, ultimately, it’s about making it easier for residents to get parking permits.”

Paper permits will be retained for vulnerable residents and their carers, and also visitors, with a view to introducing digital permits for visitors at a later date.

Councillor Ennis explained: “I know there have been lengthy discussions about this and the issue about many of our residents who can’t get access or who are not IT literate, that we’re still holding onto the paper version for a period.

“So that diversity is considered, so we are taking into consideration those who are not IT friendly, but by and large moving to digital is the way forward.”

READ MORE: Changes to parking coming to 19 streets in Reading

Reading Borough Council has been looking into replacing paper parking permits with digital ones for years.

The authority trialled a digital parking permit scheme in Caversham in October before deciding to roll-out the scheme across the borough.

Permits are divided into two types, annual permits for residents, businesses and carers, which are currently in paper disk form, and scratch cards for visitors, temporary purposes, landlords and tradespeople.

Cllr Sarah Hacker (Independent, Battle) raised concerns about how digital visitor permits will work for parking spaces outside homes of multiple occupation (HMOs).

James Crosbie, the council’s assistant director for transport replied that officers are working with the digital permit supplier on designing a system for visitors at HMOs.

Cllr Barnett-Ward (Labour, Thames) asked whether people in the trial area for digital visitor permits could revert back to paper visitor permits.

Mr Crosbie replied that these households would be able to do this.