PARKING charges are to be reintroduced in Shropshire Council's town centre car parks from Monday, January 18, following six-weeks of free parking every day from 11am to 6pm.

The free parking offer began on December 3 and aimed to encourage people to visit and support local businesses in the run up to Christmas and in the post-Christmas period.

But, with the lockdown now in place and people being advised to stay at home, charges will be reintroduced in all car parks in which charges normally apply.

Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council's Cabinet member for highways and transport, thanked those who used the offer of free parking throughout December.

He said: "We thank everyone who has taken advantage of the free parking offer to visit and support our town centres and local businesses in the run up to Christmas and over the festive period.

"We know it was popular with visitors and with business owners and we received positive support for this initiative.

"The message now is, of course, stay at home except if you need to go out to work, shop for essentials or have a medical appointment.

"We therefore expect and hope that our town centres and car parks will be very quiet in the weeks ahead and will be ending the free parking offer as planned.

"We appreciate that this decision will be disappointing for those that do still need to visit and use our town centres for these reasons, but we will continue to provide a wide range of free and cheap parking across the county."

Public health and safety at all car parks is a priority.

People are advised to follow the social distancing guidelines at all times, and encouraged to use the MiPermit app through which they can pay to park without having to use a pay and display machine.