The roll out of a new charging scheme for car parks in Huntingdonshire will begin this month, the district council has confirmed.

The first phase of the new 'pay for what you use' system in the district's off-street car parks is to begin on May 9 with the installation of new machines.

Motorists will see notices advising of the required changes as they are implemented over the next few months.

Huntingdonshire District Council says the move to the 'pay for what you use' system will allow visitors to pay for parking when they return to their vehicle, to the nearest 15 minutes, rather than having to pay per hour block in advance.

The improvements to the car parks will also include contactless payments, whilst the options to pay by cash, phone or app remain.

Council-run car parks will be among the first to change. It is understood discussions are still ongoing with retailers over introducing the new charging regime in the district's supermarket-owned car parks, however.

Councillor Marge Beuttell said: "Improving customer convenience and supporting our high streets is a key part of our manifesto, and I am keen to do all I can to support them.

"Our high streets have a lot to offer, this investment in parking technology delivers flexibility to allow our visitors to spontaneously decide to stay on for something to eat, enjoy some entertainment, or to take the chance to go for a coffee, rather than be forced to rush back to the car. It will be good for our high streets and good for visitors and residents."

The range of improvements in off-street car parking, approved in February, will be made in a phased approach over the next few months.

Once the improvements in off-street car parking are completed this year, additional proposals will be introduced to offer further upgrades. These will include proposals for wider bays, a revamp of car charging points, and improving lighting.

Councillor Beuttell added: "We have listened to what local residents, businesses and visitors want. People are busy and want convenience, they want choice, they want flexibility and they want to be able to do things when they want to do them. The conversations I have had with the public show the approach to be popular, particularly with those with children and those in a hurry."