Town centre visitors across the Borough will now get 30 minutes extra on all parking tickets bought at Council run town centre car parks, from Saturday (18th July)
Councillors approved an urgent motion at last night's (Wednesday 15th July) Annual Meeting of Swale Borough Counci (SBC).
It's a temporary measure and will be in place until Wednesday 30th as part of the authority's response to the coronavirus pandemic, utilising a government 'New Burdens' grant to pay for the concession.
It was introduced as rules around spcial distancing mean that more queues are likely with businesses taking longer to serve customers when people pop in to town.
SBC's Leader, Cllr Roger Truelove (Lab), told SFM News: "We are now going to let drivers have an extra half hour in all of our town centre car parks, which will give them longer to look around the shops, visit a cafe and hopefully stay a bit longer. We w2ould have loved to have made it 2 hours but financally we just couldn't afford it. We are currently looking at a £4M shortfall due to Coronavirus".
Motorists still have to pay at least 50p but the 30 minutes will be extended to a full hour.
The council's officers did warn members, prioir to the meeting, that the move would cost the council £96,000 in lost pay and display income and another £13,000 in a lack of fines/enforcement action.