A COUNCIL is to spend £159,000 to buy an Automatic Number Plate Recognition for two car parks.

The new system will apply to Blackburn's Feilden Street Multi-Storey car parks and its 100 space counterpart under the nearby New Reel Cinema.

ANPR requires no wardens and no on-site personnel.

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

A council spokeswoman said: "The new ANPR system will record vehicle registration numbers rather than providing tickets on arrival. The visitors will have to enter their reg at the payment machine and pay before they exit.

"The barrier won’t lift if they haven’t paid and so they wouldn’t be able to leave."

The move is the first time Blackburn with Darwen Council has used ANPR on any of its car parks..

The new car park under the £6.5million cinema will be a replacement for the Barton Street Car Park opposite.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council's regeneration boss, said: "The new Reel Cinema development will provide additional parking provision on Feilden Street, Blackburn. The proposed solution is to amend the ticket and pay and display arrangements to installation of an ANPR parking system across both car parks, which will resolve all operational issues. The ANPR system will negate the need for much of the present intervention by staff."

The cinema is set to open in November.