Free parking in all West Suffolk Council car parks and on street is being introduced in the current COVID-19 crisis.
The move will help key workers and the delivery of essential goods for the most vulnerable in town centres by community volunteers and organisations.
It will also ease parking for many working from home or in residential parking zones as they will be able to use the car parks for free and reduce parking on streets in congested areas. This allows emergency and essential services such as police, fire, ambulances and bin lorries to get through.
West Suffolk Council is working to support the setting up and running of voluntary groups that are helping the most vulnerable in their communities. The temporary removal of parking restrictions will help this.
The temporary suspension of charges will be kept under a rolling review and includes both on street and off street parking. While it will take until early next week to cover all machines and make changes to RingGo, the council will stop parking enforcement for all but dangerous parking with immediate effect.
Leader of West Suffolk Council, John Griffiths, said: “We are continually reviewing what we can do to help our residents, businesses and partners through this difficult time. Key workers, such as NHS staff, who are working long and unusual hours need our car parks to get to and from work to perform their vital role or get essential shopping. The move will also help over the coming weeks to support community volunteers who may be out distributing food and medicines to people in need.
“Alongside this, we now have many town centre residents at home during the day and in resident’s parking zones. We recognise, in certain locations such as Bury St Edmunds town centre, some roads are difficult to get down with the number of vehicles parked. The temporary postponement will ease this and help emergency services vehicles and our own bin collection crews to get through.
“It will also enable us to redeploy staff to other elements of the council’s work in supporting residents and businesses at this critical time for us all.
“We will still need to manage and pay the costs of car parks, but we feel it is right to support our communities in these unprecedented times through the immediate suspension of charges in all of our car parks.”