STAFF in Marlow forced to pay-and-display in council car parks could get a reprieve after a new automatic system is implemented.

Richard Scott, leader of Wycombe District Council, said he is hopeful that the introduction of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition System (ANPR) will allow for flexible long-term permits for town centre staff.

This would allow workers and other regular long-term parkers to pay less and not become priced out of Marlow if changes to residential parking are made following a long-awaited parking survey.

Cllr Scott said: "The Town Council asked BCC to suspend any proposed changes until Wycombe District Council had introduced ANPR for its car parks, the data from which would allow us to examine parking patterns to see whether different tariffs for long term parking could be introduced in off-street car parks, particularly into Court Garden, where on most weekdays there is plenty of space capacity.

"This possible reduction in tariffs for long-term parking might discourage commuters from parking on residential streets, but not drive them away from the Town, something which restricted street parking may well do.

"The Town Council, together with other local organisations, has worked with the County Council looking at how any proposed changes could be implemented and importantly, how it might affect residents, visitors and businesses alike."

The pay-on-exit scheme will replace pay-and-display machines, meaning motorists will only pay for the time they use, rather than the present ticket system that works on fixed time periods.

Coupled with the ability to pay by cash, card, online or by mobile phone, councillors hope the number of penalty tickets issued will be lower.

ANPR, which is being trialled in High Wycombe and is due to be rolled out in Marlow from this month, will not be installed at Riley Road or Dean Street car parks due to 'operational reasons'.