DRIVERS will no longer have to key in their car registration numbers into new South Lakeland District Council parking machines come the new year.

The pay and display machines have been controversial since they were introduced at 38 car parks in the area earlier this year at a cost of £340,000.

There was an outcry from residents, visitors and traders because motorists were forced to enter their registration details to get a ticket.

The machines prevented drivers from passing on partly-used tickets to other motorists. There were also criticisms from people unable to properly read the small print on the keys.

Swayed by public opinion, members of SLDC’s Cabinet yesterday agreed to adapt the machines so that motorists no longer had to tap in their registration details.

Coun Ian Stewart, economy and enterprise portfolio holder, said: “People will not need to punch their registration details into the machine in order to activate a ticket. “There will be an announcement very shortly when we have received a date for the work. I anticipate it will not be this side of Christmas.”

Coun Stewart said the new machines allowed the council to constantly review the service across the district by data that was collected each day.

He also said the council was looking into bringing weekly tickets for people but these might require registration details.

“We need to get the message out to South Lakeland to use our car parks more,” said Coun Stewart. “We might then be able to find other ways of reducing the burden.”

Car parks across the district will be free on Sundays throughout December.