Dorchester will soon be feeling the benefits of a new revolutionary pay on exit parking system.

Traders in the town were informed on progress of the planned pilot scheme for the Wollaston Field car park in the town centre amid a host of positive updates at an open meeting of the Dorchester Bid (Business Improvement District).

Project director Phil Gordon said that the Bid had been working with West Dorset District Council to see the scheme, which will be the first of its kind in the country, implemented.

It will use number plate recognition and enable motorists to set up an account so they do not even need to go to a machine to pay for their parking.

Mr Gordon said: “This is a true high-tech solution.

“It will be a first for Dorchester when it comes on line.”

He said the equipment had been secured and it was hoped the scheme would be up and running soon.

Mr Gordon added that when it was fully operational it could also be used by businesses running promotions.

Other positive updates at the meeting included the Bid’s recycling and training initiatives while Mr Gordon added he was also confident of reaching an agreement with the Ministry of Justice for the temporary use of the old Dorchester Prison car park.

He said if an agreement is reached it will be used by workers in the town during the day and residents after 6pm, bringing 50 to 60 parking spaces to the town centre.

Mr Gordon, who had enlisted the support of West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin in his efforts, said: “The idea is to get the prison car park back into use.”

Mr Gordon said the Bid was also looking to run another summer competition, this time based on summer sports, and was developing a series of Dorset Dialect Trails around the town using words from William Barnes.

The meeting also offered an opportunity for the board and levy payers to welcome new chair Mike Reed and Sian Merriott, while paying tribute to John Fiori.

Mr Fiori had stood in as interim chair following the sad death of chairman Peter Legg last year.

Mr Gordon said: “Can I add a personal thanks to John, who stepped in as chair at an extremely difficult time.”