DUDLEY Council chiefs have pledged to try and find the money to fund two hours of free parking on all borough car parks.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the authority, has made the promise after a motion put forward by UKIP councillor Paul Brothwood was passed at Monday’s full council meeting calling for the current one-hour free parking trial to be extended to two hours – subject to budgetary resources.

Cllr Brothwood said after the vote: “I’m really pleased both for small businesses and local residents.

“I will be putting pressure on the controlling group to make sure this UKIP policy is put in to force as soon as possible.

“We are confident the amount can easily be found within the budget.

“Although it will create a loss in parking revenue it will hopefully encourage more business premises to be let, which will aid regeneration and inward investments and jobs.”

At Monday’s meeting in the council chamber - Labour councillor John Martin branded the pledge “all smoke and mirrors” and said it wouldn’t happen but cllr Harley said afterwards: “As and when we can afford it we will introduce a two-hour trial across the borough.”

He said the authority has already spent £600,000 on funding one-hour of free parking across the borough and he added: “It’ll be a bit more to get to two hours but if we can find the money we’ll do it.”

Council bosses had already pledged to make free parking a permanent offer in the borough from next April, as part of the budget-setting process, following conclusion of the one-hour free parking trial on all local authority car parks.