THE first council-run car park using number plate technology to keep a track of drivers is coming soon.

Blackburn with Darwen Council is to have its first ANPR (Automatic Number-Plate Recognition) car park installed under Blackburn's new cinema.

ANPR requires no wardens and no on-site personnel and is being installed at the 100-space car park under the new £6.5m Reel Cinema.

It is similar to the car park system in operation at Morrisons Blackburn that registers vehicles entering and leaving the premises.

Town centre boss Cllr Phil Riley said: “The issue we have been addressing is when we have to open Feilden Street late in the evenings it has to be manned by two people. We don’t want to do this every night.

“The new ANPR car park is a council first and it is a sensible way of tackling this.

“It will still be a paid-for car park and eventually we are looking to have the ANPR technology at Feilden Street too.

“Staff can then spend more time looking at illegal parking in the area.”

The new car park will be a replacement for the Barton Street Car Park opposite the cinema.

The cinema is set to open in November and internal fittings works are due to begin in the first week of September.

The 2,400 square metre single-storey cinema, on the former Waves Leisure Centre site, will also include cafes, a dessert bar and a public realm outdoor space, better linking the areas surrounding Northgate, King George’s Hall and Blackburn College.

It ties in with council regeneration plans for the adjacent Northgate area near King George's Hall.