FREE parking will remain on council-owned car parks in the borough's town centres to help boost footfall for traders preparing to re-open their businesses next week.

Council bosses have said parking charges will remain suspended until at least the end of the month to help business owners looking to bounce back from lockdown.

On Monday (April 12) some businesses, including non-essential retail shops and hairdressers and nail salons, will be able to re-open under step two of the government’s roadmap to ease restrictions imposed to control the spread of coronavirus.

Balvinder Heran, deputy chief executive of the council, said: "We are committed as a council to doing all we can to help borough businesses to bounce back from months of not being able to trade during lockdown.

"To that end, we have decided to keep free parking in place until the end of April at least to hopefully boost footfall in our town centres in the critical first few weeks of re-opening for many shops.

"We will keep the position under review."