A temporary free parking initiative is set to be introduced across the Moorlands next month. A 'Free for Three Hours' initiative is set to run on all Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) managed car parks in the three Moorlands towns of Cheadle, Biddulph, and Leek through the month of August.
A temporary free parking initiative is set to be introduced across the Moorlands next month.
A ‘Free for Three Hours’ initiative is set to run on all Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) managed car parks in the three Moorlands towns of Cheadle, Biddulph, and Leek through the month of August.
Cheadle Town Mayor Ian Plant has confirmed the initiative. He said: “We, as Mayors and Deputy Mayors of Leek, Biddulph and Cheadle have been working alongside (SMDC) Cabinet and officers of SMDC in working together to suspend the car parking charges for at least through the month of August to try and bring people into the towns and support the local traders.
“We shall be meeting regularly to see what other ideas can be discussed to help out high streets before Covid-19 hit all businesses throughout the country.”
Leader of SMDC, councillor Sybil Ralphs, said of the initiative: “As businesses and shops across the Moorlands re-open following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, we are supporting them by offering three hours free parking on our car parks throughout August which, we hope, will offer yet another reason for people to come and visit and to shop locally.
“In order for the council to be able to monitor how many people are using the car parks, drivers will still need to display a ticket. The machines will issue a three hour ticket, but there will be no charge for that period.
“We have worked with partners to make sure we have put in place the appropriate safety measures – including enhanced hygiene regimes and signage in car parks – to ensure people can have confidence to return but we would remind everyone that the virus has not gone away and it is as important as ever that we all keep the required distance away from others, cleanse our hands regularly and wear face coverings when in shops which will become a requirement from Friday (July 24).”
Concerns have been raised by a local nurse regarding the timing of this free parking initiative.
We reported in May that SMDC had confirmed that charges remained in place at its car parks across the district during the coronavirus lockdown in a bid to “discourage social gatherings.”
This statement was provided to the Times & Echo after concerns were raised by Cheadle community leaders over the potential spread of coronavirus via the use of pay machines on car parks.
Nurse Liz Knapper, who lives in Tean, told the Times & Echo this week: “I’m a nurse so the infection control concerned me.
“It’s a pity that the safety of Cheadle residents came secondary to SMDC finance during lockdown – forced use of the car parking meters during initial weeks of lockdown caused residents concern.
“Many people I’ve spoken to took a stand and stopped using the main car park and of course this probably affected local business and made shopping for essentials in nearby shops more difficult.
“The suggestion that suspending charges wasn’t possible because one objective was to “discourage gatherings” was puzzling.
“Large gatherings are still discouraged yet parking through August is going to be free?
“We assume this is an attempt to resume trade – again finance driven. Surely this could have been handled better?”
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