New multi-storey car parks, a pay-on-departure system and electronic signs to direct people to appropriate spaces are among the measures recommended to improve parking in Whitehaven.

An investigation by planning consultant WSP has forecast that up to 1,500 new spaces could be required in the town by 2035, Cumbria County Council's local committee for Copeland was told.

The study suggested a number of schemes to be completed by 2024 would help meet the demand and improve parking provision in the town, including:

n Building the proposed new car park on Coach Road and a new multi-storey car park on North Shore Road;

n Looking at the possibility of a pay-on-departure system in car parks;

n Moving some residents' parking concessions to off-street parking to leave spaces in commercial streets for visitors and shoppers;

n Improving train stations at Bransty and Corkickle to encourage more people to use public transport, walk and cycle.

The report, which was completed on behalf of the county council and Copeland Council and paid for by Sellafield Ltd, also identified long-term goals including building two more new multi-storey car parks in the town centre, erecting electronic signs on the approach to Whitehaven and a park-and-ride system.

The strategy was presented by Guy Kenyon, the council's infrastructure planning lead, and the committee agreed to endorse the proposals and work with Copeland Council and Sellafield Ltd towards securing funding and delivering the projects, as well as using the results of the study to inform planning.

Mr Kenyon said: "None of these options really have any confirmed funding at this stage.

"The advantage of having the report and the evidence base now that these interventions are a good idea allows us now to go forward when funding opportunities come along and develop schemes in more detail based on the recommendations of the study."

Councillor Graham Roberts said the need to improve parking had been an outstanding issue for the past decade and questioned when the recommendations could be delivered.

Mr Kenyon said: "In terms of timescales, it obviously depends a lot on the availability of funding."