Shoppers and visitors will be able to tap to pay for their parking at car parks across Test Valley as the council’s cabinet puts forward a recommendation to replace all of the authority’s payment machines with contactless systems. 

Council chiefs are set to consider a proposal on June 12 to replace all of the cash-only pay and display ticket machines with ones that accept debit and credit cards and smartphone payments as well as coins.

If approved by cabinet the recommendation will then be considered at full council at the end of June. The authority hopes to replace all of its machines in October subject to the proposal getting the green light from councillors.

Test Valley Borough Council’s planning portfolio holder, Councillor Nick Adams-King, said: “This major change will make it easier for people to visit our town centres and shop locally.

“The ability to pay by credit and debit card or other contactless methods is now part of people’s everyday lives. Cash transactions in general have been in decline over the past few years and customers now expect to be able to pay for services via non-cash methods. There are now so few occasions when we need to carry cash and therefore having coin-only pay and display is becoming an increasing hindrance for shoppers. I hope that my fellow cabinet members will back this recommendation to full council.”

The newly established Andover Business Improvement District (BID) has maintained a dialogue with the council about parking in Andover town centre since its inception.  The BID has promoted the modernisation of car parking payment options as a tangible benefit to the town centre. 

Chairman of Andover Business Improvement District, Kevin Paterson, said: “This will be of real benefit to the town and we are delighted to be associated with this key initiative. We are really pleased that the council has taken heed and is looking to replace the payment machines in all of its car parks.  

“So many people nowadays rely on their credit cards and smartphones to make payments and thus rarely carry cash. Coin payment machines can, therefore, prove a barrier to shoppers visiting the town, so this will be a really positive step forward to help encourage more people to come to Andover.”

Ringo will also continue to be offered in all council car parks. The two machines in the Chantry Centre which enable people to clock in and then pay on exit using a debit or credit card will also remain in place.

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