SHOPPERS will be given an extra free month of parking across Wirral as the council moves to help support businesses re-opening.

Parking charges in Wirral had been temporarily suspended at the start of the pandemic lockdown in council car parks and on street parking.

The move was intended to support key workers as they moved around the borough for work during the lockdown, or to shop for essentials.

As the borough moves to the next phase of tackling the coronavirus pandemic more businesses will be re-opening from July 4.

This follows a number of “non essential” shops and businesses re-opening from June 15.

A report published by Wirral Council says there will be a further one month suspension of charges beyond the next phase of high street reopening on July 5.

Parking charges will be re-introduced at previous rates across all off street and on street council facilities with effect from Monday, August 3.

Wirral Council cabinet member for community services, Cllr Julie McManus, said: “The suspension of car parking charges at the outset of the pandemic was a useful measure to help key workers and those struggling financially under the lockdown.

“It is vital now that as we move to the next stage of tackling this pandemic and more shops and businesses re-open that we support them.

"This additional month of free parking will, I hope, encourage people to begin supporting local businesses again. By adding an extra month to the suspension of car parking charges I hope people will be sensible and not all rush to the shops at the same time.

“The coronavirus has not gone away yet – we are just moving on to a new phase of dealing with the illness and I would urge everyone to remember to follow social distancing and handwashing advice.”

The cost of the one month suspension of charges is estimated to be in the region of £30,000 to £50,000.

Paula Basnett, CEO at Wirral Chamber of Commerce, said: “We welcome this latest move from Wirral Borough Council as part of a series of significant steps taken by the authority over the past few months to support communities and small businesses throughout this pandemic.

“Whilst coronavirus is still rife across the country and remains a risk it is vital that our businesses and local council work in partnership to get through this delicate stage of our economy slowly starting to re-start.

“With Wirral Chamber’s key campaign on saving local high-streets, on behalf of all small businesses we welcome this with open arms.”

Leader of Wirral Labour Group and cabinet member for finance & resources, Cllr Janette Williamson, said: “I am pleased to support this recommendation which fits well with this council’s focus on encouraging people to support local business such as by buying local. It will also play a part in our wider Community Wealth Building Strategy which we want to see redirect wealth back into the local economy.”