A special council committee will put their heads together to decide whether to bring back cash parking meters after hearing the views of the public.
A task and finish group met last night to discuss scrapping the controversial cashless pay-by-phone system in favour of bringing back cash machines.
Conservative Councillor Brian Gordon, who chaired the meeting, said: “We wanted to get people’s views on the matter. We heard mainly from traders from the Finchley and Barnet area. The majority of people who spoke wanted to bring cash parking meters back.
“But it’s a much bigger issue than just people saying they want to see cash machines returned – we have to look at costs to the public and to the council. We have to consider what sort of machines they might be, and whether they will be vandalised. We need to look at it all.”
The committee was provided with costs for running and maintaining pay and display machines, with the total cost for 50 coin machines estimated at £513,000.
Fifty debit and credit card machines with an added coin facility would cost an estimated £592,000, whereas the pay-by-phone system covering 450 locations across the borough costs £410,000.
But the pay-by-phone system has faced much criticism since it was brought in in 2010, with many complaining it is difficult to use.
Many shopkeepers, residents and drivers submitted their views to the council.
Lisbet Davies, who lives in the borough, said: “I am one of many residents who are very upset about the lack of parking meters. I have stopped going to the little shops in Barnet as I find the telephone parking so complicated.
“I am elderly and suffer with various illnesses. It is difficult enough to find a parking space and then when I have one I have to stand outside - several times it has been in heavy rain and I try to call a number which is often difficult to get through to.
“It has given me reason to do more and more of my shopping on the internet, taking business away from the local shops. Please reinstate the parking meters.”
The task and finish group will discuss its findings before deciding on its recommendation.