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Council to reintroduce parking charges

News release issued:

Motorists will have to pay to park on council car parks in Wyre Forest from Monday 1 June, although on duty NHS and social care staff will be able to continue to park for free if they display a pass that their employer provides for them.

Wyre Forest District Council suspended all parking charges on 27 March soon after the lockdown began, but charges will be introduced from 1 June in line with the Government’s gradual lifting of restrictions on movement.

Car parking machines will not be in use to stop the spread of Coronavirus so people using the car parks will either have to pay by mobile phone or buy a season ticket online. 

Over the last week the council has seen an increase in the number of people using its car parks since restrictions were eased by the Government on 13 May.

Many are people visiting the district for leisure purposes, sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, sunbathing and angling in line with the Government’s advice allowing people to take day trips further afield, in private vehicles.

The impact has been particularly noticeable in Bewdley and Stourport where visitors from outside the district are returning in numbers, despite the fact that many popular facilities such as restaurants and pubs remain closed, as do all council-owned public toilets.  

Visitors create greater demand and extra costs on council services such as clearing litter and emptying bins and the council has already had to increase the frequency of emptying litter bins in the riverside towns since last weekend.

Anybody visiting the district should be aware the council’s public toilets remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cabinet Member for Operational Services Councillor John Thomas said: “We have waived all parking fees for two months but we feel that, with the gradual easing of lockdown, now is the appropriate time for them to be reintroduced.

“The income from car parking makes an important contribution to the council’s overall financial position and we cannot continue to offer free parking, especially as the Government has not given a guarantee that it will cover all losses faced by councils.

“However, we recognise the efforts and contribution that frontline NHS and social care workers continue to make in the fight against Covid-19 and that’s why they will continue to be exempt from charges if they are on duty and display the pass provided by their employer.

“We know that some residents and visitors prefer to pay for parking using cash. But that just cannot happen at this time. It would simply not be safe to allow machines to be used at this time. We want to minimise the risk for residents and visitors so that they don’t have to touch the surfaces other people have touched and we also want to avoid them queuing in close quarters.”

Information on how to pay by telephone or app on your mobile phone is available on our cashless parking information page. The simplest way is to download the Just Park app, but this is not compulsory.

Alternatively, regular users could consider buying a season ticket which can be paid for by a JustPark account on its website or through the JustPark app. More information on the range and costs of our season tickets, including how to apply online can be found on our season tickets webpage.  

In March the council announced that it would extend existing season tickets by three months without charge. The council is honouring that commitment even through the suspension of charging has been for a period of less than 3 months. Season ticket holders are asked to contact JustPark about their expiry date.

Officers will be enforcing parking charges with effect from Monday 1 June, when all users will need to pay to park, apart from holders of valid season tickets and on duty NHS/social care staff displaying a pass from their employers.

People who use the car parks are being asked to make sure they pay the appropriate fee as the council’s enforcement team will be patrolling the district’s car parks.

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