FROM today (August 1) motorists can take advantage of three-hours free parking throughout this month in the Staffordshire Moorlands three market towns.
The offer is extended across Staffordshire Moorlands District Council-owned car parks in Biddulph, Cheadle and Leek to attract shoppers back into town.
The lockdown measures introduced by Government to combat the coronavirus outbreak have seen a dramatic drop in footfall on the town's high streets.
The decrease in town centre visitors is reflected in a fall of 86 per cent in car parking tickets issued to motorists from March 23 until June 6.
SMDC executive director Neil Rogers revealed in a report put before council cabinet members: “The financial impact of this has been a significant loss of revenue.
"However, some of this loss may be recovered from the Government’s recent commitment to reimburse local authorities for income losses due to the pandemic.”
In order for the council to be able to monitor use of the car parks, drivers will still need to display a ticket.
Ticket machines are being adapted to issue a three-hour ticket for which there will be no charge.
Sybil Ralphs, SMDC Leader, and cabinet member for regeneration and finance, said: “The key to a strong recovery is for people to shop locally and support their local businesses.
“We want to support our towns and villages as they start to welcome people back and we’re pleased to be able to do that with this offer of additional free parking.
“We have worked with partners to ensure the appropriate safety measures are in place – including enhanced hygiene regimes and signage in the car parks – to ensure people can have the confidence to use them.
“But I would remind everybody that that virus has not gone away and it remains as important as ever that we all keep the required distance away from others, cleanse our hands regularly and wear face coverings in shops which is now a requirement.”