DORSET County Council has announced a new eight-point criteria for on-street parking in its towns.

The council was forced into a rethink of its proposal to introduce a pay-and-display parking scheme after objections were made by a number of town and parish councils.

The council set up a panel to review the policy in October.

A report was presented at the council’s cabinet meeting outlining the results of the panel’s review, which will now mean that each town must have a traffic problem before a scheme is considered. Each town will be reviewed individually to see if it fits the criteria for on-street parking.

Cllr Bill Trite, who led the review of the on-street parking, said: “The criteria is extremely important.

“Any problem must be clearly identified before any scheme is identified, and that pay and display will solve it.

“The panel also decided against its original wish of enforcement and on reflection was the right thing to do.

“The spirit of the panel’s outlook is that one size does not fit all.

“Local issues matter and all interested parties should be involved and there must be solid justification and that justification must be seen to be established.

“Following that, pay and display schemes could be installed where appropriate and necessary.”

The new criteria states that an on-street pay and display parking scheme can only be considered when there is a problem to solve and not as a means of raising revenue.

It also states that for a scheme to be progressed it must be supported by “robust evidence” and there must be early involvement with towns, districts, business represent-atives, police and the local county councillor to help collate the evidence.

Any scheme introduced will be reviewed after one year and finances will be reviewed and accounts published annually.

Cllr Hilary Cox, cabinet member for environment, said: “We set up the panel to review how we think of the role of pay and display car parks, and the awareness that one size does not fit all, but we do need to have a clear criteria for when a problem arises that need a solution in a town. To help us go forward we need a clear criteria and a staggered approach.

“In gaining an understanding of the problem and issues, consulting with towns and the users of the parking of the town, we can move forward.”