A SCHEME to allow residents to pay council tax at shops and post offices throughout the city could soon become permanent following a successful trial.

Council tax, business rates, housing benefit overpayments, bulky waste collections and parking fines as well as football pitch hire and fishing permits could soon all be paid at more than 100 shops across the city, if councillors back plans next week.

Worcester City Council wants to get rid of its expensive payment machines at the Hive - which cost around £20,000 a year to maintain - to allow a range of payments to be made at shops with yellow PayPoint terminals.

The payment trial has been in place since November last year and the city council said it has proved popular with more than 3,000 transactions being made since November - including more than 600 per month in June and July.

Payment machines at the Hive had been the only place to make cash payments meaning residents were stuck if they were broken or unavailable.

The machines had become increasingly unreliable due to breaking down and freezing and proved expensive to fix.

Branching out payment locations also means residents do not have to rely on the Hive to pay bills.

The city council has already agreed to pull out of its customer service contract with IT specialists Civica following a big drop in calls.

Shane Flynn, director of resources and governance at the council, said: "For many residents the option of paying council bills at their local shop is very convenient and it’s also an opportunity for the council to support small businesses by encouraging people to visit those shops."

The council's policy and resources committee meets on Tuesday (September 10) to make a decision.