Basildon Council has decided to make council car parks free until the end of this year to boost high street recovery.
Free pay and display car parks and season tickets were unanimously agreed upon by the Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee on July 21.
The move is designed to lend support to high streets as part of the Shop Local, Shop Safe campaign, which aims to encourage shoppers to support their local high street and support shopkeepers in reopening in a safe manner.
Chairman of the Neighbourhoods and Public Spaces Committee, Councillor David Harrison said: “This will have big value to high streets, especially in Billericay and Wickford.
“While there is a financial cost to the council, it will provide a real boost to high street traders in a time of real need.”
The move is expected to result in a loss of income to the council of £225,000.
Visitors to car parks may be required to collect tickets for the duration of their stay without cost, in order to avoid car parks filling up from people not moving their cars for long periods.
The council will also monitor the car parks to see how they are used. If there is heavy use by commuters rather than shoppers then a daily fee will be introduced between 12pm – 6pm.
Basildon Council owns and operates a number of car parks across the borough at:
- High Street, Billericay
- Radford Crescent, Billericay
- Lake Meadows, Billericay
- Wickford Main, Wickford
- Wickford Ladygate Centre, Wickford
- Wickford Pool, Wickford
Car parks operate on a mixture of pay and display and season tickets, dependent upon the location.
Car parking charges were suspended at the outset of the pandemic to protect staff and the public.
Fees and charges resumed on Juy 6, alongside more stringent health and safety controls and a resumption of coin collection and counting—with fees ceasing from July 22.