COUNCIL chiefs have extended the offer of free parking on all Dudley Council car parks until August 1 to help support businesses and shoppers amid the coronavirus crisis.

Bosses at the local authority hope the free parking extension will help frontline staff and enable people to support local businesses as the country starts to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown.

Parking charges have been suspended since March due to the pandemic but Councillor Karen Shakespeare, Dudley's cabinet member for environment, highways and street services, said this week: "We want to continue to support our frontline workers, local traders and businesses and encourage shoppers to return, that’s why we are offering this free parking extension.

"Dudley Council is working with our town centre businesses to help people shop and visit safely and by removing the need to use the pay and display machines during June and July we are continuing to play our part in this important work.

"I would encourage all our residents to shop local wherever possible and would ask all visitors to remember to adhere to social distancing guidelines throughout their time in our town centres."

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, added: "These have been challenging times for our traders and town centres. This extension of free parking will be the boost our traders need and will remind people that Dudley borough is open for business.

"People can come to our towns and take advantage of this offer but I would urge them to continue to stay alert and to continue to follow the government’s guidance on keeping themselves and others safe."

People with parking season tickets will see payments suspended for an additional month.

Council bosses, however, say all other parking conditions still apply, such as the permitted duration for the short and long stay car parks, and Penalty Charge Notices will continue to be enforced.

Car parking charges have returned at Himley Hall and Park and motorists are advised to check for the latest information when parking anywhere in the borough.