Virtual parking permits to be rolled out across Warwickshire next month
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Virtual parking permits are finally set to be rolled out across Warwickshire after a year of delays.
Warwickshire County Council this week confirmed the automated system would kick in from July 24, replacing the old paper system.
It was decided in October 2020 that the permits, which are available to eligible people in areas of the county where parking is controlled, should become virtual only but an online system from third-party provider Imperial, which has worked with the council on parking permits since 2014, failed to distinguish between eligible and non-eligible applicants for permits.
That pushed back a June 2022 rollout date with a new system called Permit Apply from NSL (Marstons), the company that holds the council’s civil parking enforcement contract, coming forward in December 2022.
Testing has shown it to be effective but although the council has given it the green light, one councillor on the communities overview and scrutiny committee wants to ensure it works for those on the wrong side of the digital divide.
Councillor Peter Gilbert (Con, Bedworth West) said: “I understand the move to these systems with the ease that they provide to councils and organisations providing these services but I just want to make sure there isn’t a presumption that the people using this are Bill Gates. They’re not.
“The favourite lines I hear are that it is easy, it is ever so straightforward. I walk off with that in mind and then try to use it myself.
"Now, I am a little bit of a luddite but the basic computer literacy people have can sometimes be confused with the computer literacy of the people implementing the system. There are differences and we need to make sure we don’t design a system that is too complicated.”
Dave Ayton-Hill, the county’s assistant director for communities, replied: “Not everyone can always use the digital systems, there is a phone line for people to contact NSL and do the process on the phone.”
Cllr Gilbert also highlighted those who have dispensation for free permits, something Mr Ayton-Hill said he had not been aware of and that he would check how that would work under the new system.