Ticket machines in Wyre Forest District Council car parks will be in use again from Monday 8 June and users will be able to pay by cash as well as the existing range of pay-by-phone and on-line payment options available through JustPark.

Councillor John Thomas, Cabinet Member for Operational Services, said “We announced on 22 May that charging would start again on 1 June because of greater usage of car parks, particularly by visitors to Bewdley and Stourport from outside the district. Visitors from elsewhere don’t pay any council tax to the district council and it’s right that they should contribute to the cost of services we have to provide such as emptying litter bins.

“The council rightly acted to protect car park users from the risk of transmission of COVID-19 by not accepting cash payments for car parking initially. With the Government now authorising more shops to open from 15 June, which is based on scientific advice about spread of the disease, the council has reviewed the arrangements that were drawn up a fortnight ago.

“We need to prepare for a larger number of users expected in car parks as a result. After careful consideration I am pleased to confirm that the ticket machines in car parks will be operational again from Monday 8 June although we would strongly recommend visitors use our cashless payments options such as paying by phone, pre-booking their space or purchasing a season ticket.

“I would like to thank car park users for their understanding during the temporary arrangements that were implemented for their safety and I can confirm that we will have a rigorous cleaning regime in place and our staff will be fully protected with the appropriate PPE.”

New signage will remind people to observe social distancing if there is a queue at a machine and to wash their hands or use sanitising gel regularly, including after touching surfaces that may have been touched by others.

An announcement about reopening of public toilets owned by the council is expected shortly.

Many businesses in town centres have been closed or severely affected by the Government’s restrictions. The council has implemented 100% business rate relief in line with Government requirements and issued a range of grants to affected businesses under schemes funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Councillor Thomas added “We are conscious that, unlike Kidderminster and Stourport, Bewdley has no significant free car parking provided for users of supermarkets and other shopping developments. We are therefore looking at special temporary measures that would apply only in Bewdley as part of the recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown to support its shops as they begin trading again. We will make a further announcement about that shortly.”