A POPULAR free parking trial is set to continue across Dudley borough for the next two months.

Shoppers visiting Dudley Council car parks in Brierley Hill, Dudley, Halesowen and Sedgley have been able to enjoy up to two hours of free parking since April 24.

However, the trial was meant to come to an end on Sunday (July 2), but council bosses have decided to keep it going until the end of August.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, told the News: “We couldn’t let the trial just come to a sudden end as that wouldn’t have been right to all the shoppers who have been taking advantage of it across the borough.

“We have decided to extend it for another two months. This will allow the council officers to analyse the data which has been collected, as well as speak to local traders, to see if it is something that would be feasible to keep on for the long term.

“Initial feedback from the public and businesses has been that it’s had a positive impact on footfall in the high streets, which is always a good sign.”

The motion to trial free parking in the borough was first put forward by UKIP in 2016, before being unanimously backed by all councillors in December.

Dudley’s UKIP group leader, Cllr Paul Brothwood, said the trial has been an overwhelming success.

He told the News: “From everything we have seen and been told by shoppers and traders they are very much in favour of keeping free parking going permanently.

“Our town centre businesses are having to compete very hard with Merry Hill to attract shoppers and free parking is one of the ways in which the council can help them do that.

“We want our borough shops to thrive and you only have to see the positive impact that Tesco’s free parking has had on Stourbridge town centre over the past few years to know that not having to pay for parking is so important to shoppers.

“We hope the council sees sense to keep it going in the future.”

People who want to take advantage of the extended trial will need to print and display a free parking ticket from the machines which are already in place.

For more information about Dudley Council’s car parks, as well as current parking tariffs, visit www.dudley.gov.uk/resident/parking-roads

The council confirmed normal charges will be in place for people parking for longer than two hours and return is prohibited within three hours of leaving.