CONTACTLESS parking is to come to town sooner than expected, with the date pencilled in for next month.

A Romsey councillor has said he expects Test Valley motorists to be able to pay for their parking with the tap of a card in November.

Councillor Nick Adams-King, who represents Blackwater on the borough council, said: "The installation of the tap to pay parking machines starts on November 9."

Test Valley Borough Council have not confirmed the date of the installation.

They have estimated it will take two weeks to install the machines across the borough.

Cllr Mark Cooper, who represents Tadburn on the borough council, said: "I welcome contactless parking payments. It’s so much easier than messing about with coins.

"A town will attract more visitors and shoppers if parking is made convenient and easy.

"It would help to have a few more off-street spaces available. Romsey Future is doing some pro-active work on this issue."

Cllr Nik Daas, who represents Romsey Abbey on the borough council, said: "I am extremely glad to see it will be easier and quicker to park in the town.

"It is a much overdue change that will benefit business and residents alike.

"We now also have the same facilities as Winchester and other shopping areas so this will benefit the town's hard working businesses."

It was revealed the borough council will replace all of its cash-only pay and display ticket machines with ones that accept debit and credit cards and smartphone payments, as well as coins.

A recommendation was put forward at full council at the end of June.

As previously reported, Cllr Nick Adams-King said:"This major change will make it easier for people to visit our town centres and shop locally.

"The ability to pay by credit and debit card or other contactless methods is now part of people’s everyday lives."

He added: "Cash transactions in general have been in decline over the past few years and customers now expect to be able to pay for services via non-cash methods.

"There are now so few occasions when we need to carry cash and therefore having coin-only pay and display is becoming an increasing hindrance for shoppers.”

Romsey town centre manager, Mark Edgerley, said: “We live in a society where people are so used to using their cards and smartphones to make payments and we have a responsibility to respond to this and adapt accordingly for the benefit of our town centres and the convenience of shoppers and visitors alike."

RingGo will also continue to be offered in all council car parks.