New parking system installed at Barking’s Vicarage Field

Vicarage Field is set to introduce a new parking system in an effort to prevent queuing. Picture: Ke

Vicarage Field is set to introduce a new parking system in an effort to prevent queuing. Picture: Ken Mears. - Credit: Archant

The days of waiting to get into Vicarage Field’s car park could be over with the introduction of new technology.

From Wednesday, December 4, the Barking shopping centre is introducing an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system to replace the queuing and machine breakdowns.

It automatically records number plates when customers enter the car park. They then go shopping, return, and pay for however long they've stayed in the car park - the machine will know automatically.

Charges begin at £2 for up to two hours, then £4 for two to four hours, £7 for four to six hours and £10 for up to 12 hours. They apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The new system will still take change, but there will also be the option to pay with a contactless card or via smartphone. Pay stations will be in similar locations to the old equipment.

"We have installed industry leading equipment that visitors will find easy to use. We have also introduced contactless card payments, which I'm sure will make life easier for our customers," said Simon Green, regional centre director for the shopping centre.

People who don't pay the right amount for their parking will be sent a penalty charge.

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The old barrier equipment was installed in 1999 to replace a pay and display system. One of the reasons the centre made the change was to prevent rat-running through the car park, with a spokesman explaining there were several near misses and incidents caused by vehicles speeding through the car park.

Mr Green said the centre has addressed the problem, adding: "We are very conscious that this will occur again with the removal of the barriers.

"To that end, the roof top car park will only be accessible from Station Parade and the lower level car park from Vicarage Drive. In the event that we reach capacity on the lower level, arrangements are in place to make the upper level available.

"However, in general, there will be no free flow of traffic between the two car parks."