The council will be taking back control of its car parks but reassured people that there will be little, if any change, to how they will be operated.

18 car parks owned by St Albans City and District Council - 15 in St Albans and three in Harpenden - are currently run by private firm NCP (National Car Parks) on behalf of the council. But the contract with NCP will be expiring next Thursday (October 3).

The council said it has decided to run its own car parks from Thursday onwards to ensure management is more response to users' needs.

It will also be able to retain all revenues rather than share them with contractors.

The parking charges will stay the same and so will the opening times of the car park, which are mostly 24 hours every day.

Council leader and portfolio holder for climate and environment Cllr Chris White said: “Resuming control of our car parks is a progressive move that will be of considerable benefit to residents and visitors.”

The council will also be taking control of parking enforcement for the district which has been managed by NSL since 2004.

In the long term the council hopes to invest more into the car parks to modernise them with new technology and other features.

This could be automatic number plate technology to make the system of using and paying for parking easier.

Cllr White added: “We thank NCP and NSL for the services they have provided over the last few years but I feel it is time that we moved to a less remote regime.

“By taking back the management to a team firmly based in St Albans, I believe we can be more responsive to the parking requirements of our residents and visitors.

“We are also committed to using the extra revenue we will acquire to modernise our car parks where necessary.”

Those who will be affected are NCP season ticket and senior citizen permit holders. They will have to complete paperwork to switch to council-authorised permits at no extra cost.

NCP has also written to these holders explaining what they need to do to make the move. Holders of senior citizen permits have now been sent a letter explaining how to apply.

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