DORSET Council has taken the decision to suspend parking charges in its car parks across the county during the coronavirus pandemic.
Following calls from the general public and Dorset’s elected members, the council will no longer require payment for the use of any of its car parks that remain open at this time while public health measures are in place.
However, on-street parking charges and restrictions will remain in place in order to keep roads clear and traffic moving.
The decision to suspend off-street car park charges will help residents to park for free while residential roads are full of vehicles during the current “lockdown”.
The aim is to get people not parking in the side roads whilst they are staying indoors, so they can move their cars from the road to the car parks.
By encouraging the movement of the cars from the street to these car parks we can provide better access for NHS workers, social carers and volunteers supporting the vulnerable in their communities. It will improve access for emergency and bin collection vehicles and provide options for residents who need to travel to buy essential food and groceries.
Beach car parks and those at other tourist spots that have already been closed, including those in Lyme Regis, will remain shut until further notice.
Dorset Council will continue to ask people not to drive to these places and/or congregate in groups in order to comply with public health guidance and not spread the virus.
Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “We have listened and taken action. This is a positive use of council assets and by suspending charges in our car-parks we can support Dorset residents during these unprecedented times.
“We can ensure those who are on the front-line delivering vital services have parking options, and we can help keep traffic moving while residential roads are full of parked cars.
“However, it is still important that people heed central government advice to stay at home and only travel when it is essential. Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home). If outside, ensure you stay two metres away from others.”