AN UNPOPULAR parking management system which netted a private company nearly half a million pounds is to be replaced by the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA).

Car park contracts with the firm Parking Eye, which currently enforces fees at some Lake District car parks, will not be renewed as they come to an end, say LDNPA bosses.

A new ‘user friendly’ system will be introduced – Park With Ease.

The current system has proved unpopular with some users who claim it is not flexible enough and has led to enforcement notices being issued unfairly.

This week the authority revealed that around 8,000 enforcement notices had been issued in national park car parks.

Based on Parking Eye’s £60 discounted penalty for prompt payment, this will have earned the company £480,000, of which only the value of the avoided parking fee is returned to the LDNPA.

The new Park With Ease system will charge a prompt payment penalty of £20, which the authority says covers the administration cost of the enforcement.

LDNPA development manager Adam Thomas revealed that at Brockhole alone during July and August around 500 notices were issued by Parking Eye – attracting penalties of £30,000 at the prompt payment rate.

He said the Park With Ease scheme, developed especially for the LDNPA and trialled at the Lakeside car park in Coniston, allowed visitors to choose from a number of different ways to pay the parking charges.

Incorporating touch screen technology, the system lets visitors to the national park pay by cash or credit card both on entry and on exit or even after they have returned home.

Mr Thomas said the aim was to make parking as flexible as possible.

“The new system has been trialled in Coniston and will be rolled out throughout the national park over the next three years,” he said.

“It has been developed especially for the LDNPA in conjunction with a number plate recognition company and a software company.”

He added: “Park With Ease is very user friendly. It allows motorists to pay on entry, on exit or up to 10 days after they have parked.

“This will allow a visitor to come to the Lake District and use all our car parks over the duration of their stay and then pay their parking in one go after they return home. It will really make a difference.”