Melton car park charges to begin again but NHS and care workers park free
Motorists will be charged again in Melton car parks from Monday but NHS, health and social care workers can do so for free when they are working.
Melton Borough Council dropped all charges in its seven car parks in the town centre when the coronavirus lockdown began in March.
But the authority says it cannot afford to continue with the arrangement and the reintroduction of payments coincides with the reopening of non-essential shops and an expected increase in visitors to the town.
The council is offering drivers the opportunity to pay for parking via their mobile phones to prevent them having to touch surfaces on the pay machines to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Council leader, Joe Orson, said: “We have waived all parking fees for over two months but we feel that, with the gradual easing of lockdown, now is the appropriate time for them to be reintroduced.
“We hope that residents will understand that while we have done our best to support their essential journeys by introducing free parking during the lockdown until now, the resulting loss of income will have long term impacts on the council’s finances and our ability to sustain the services we deliver to our residents.”
NHS and health and social care workers and responders in Melton are being encouraged to apply via their employer for a new government digital parking permit so they can park for free with no time limits when undertaking official duties.
The downloadable paper-based permit, which will be made available through NHS Trusts, local authorities responsible for social care and the Royal Volunteering Society, should be displayed clearly in vehicle windscreens.
Councillor Orson said: “At this time it continues to be important to make parking as easy as possible for NHS and health and social care workers who need to use their cars for work purposes.
“I’d encourage workers who think they are eligible to speak to their employers straight away so that they can make use of the free parking available to them.”
The council has teamed up with PayByPhone to enable drivers to use their phone to pay to park in its seven car parks in the town centre and also top up their parking time remotely if they wish to stay in Melton longer.
Drivers can pay via the PayByPhone app or by calling a telephone number which will be displayed on signs in the car parks.
Users can use the Extend-From-Anywhere service without any additional transaction fees and can additionally choose to pay for text messages that reminds them before a parking session expires.
“We want to minimise the risk for residents and visitors so that they don’t have to touch the surfaces other people have touched and we want to avoid them queuing in close quarters so we are pleased to introduce the new PayByPhone app that eliminates the need to touch the ticket machines,” added Councillor Orson.
The PayByPhone app can be downloaded for free - from the App Store or Google Play Store, or by visiting paybyphone.co.uk.
Registration is very simple and takes less than 30 seconds.
Drivers can also use the app to locate the nearest PayByPhone parking location anywhere in the country.
The borough council car parks are located on Scalford Road, Burton Street, Mill Street, Wilton Road, St Mary’s Way, Chapel Street and at Waterfield Leisure centre.