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Are you a key worker? Unfortunately, free parking is coming to an end

Cars in a car park
Photo by Andrew Bone (CC by 2.0)

As of today (1st July), key workers will no longer benefit from free parking in council-owned or operated car parks.

Dorset Council initially dropped charges at their car parks for key workers at the start of the pandemic. Since then, the council has struggled to enforce their scheme, due to the way that many people interpret who classifies as a key worker.

In addition to this, a council spokesperson also stated that with the reopening of high streets, hospitality businesses and many shops, the demand for parking has been growing and will continue to increase. However, some leniency may be provided to genuine key workers:

Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) will use their discretion when dealing with key worker vehicles that may attempt to continue parking for free over the coming days, preferring for warnings and guidance to be issued while word gets around that the scheme has ended.

Commenting on the free parking scheme, the Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment said:

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who was able to take advantage of our free parking offer that we put in place over 3 months ago.

Dorset Council will always be grateful to those key workers who supported our communities during the worst of the COVID-19 lockdown period. But with the gradual relaxation of travel restrictions, changed public health guidance and the re-opening of shops, it is now the right time for us to get back to normal in how we charge for the use of our car parks.

CEOs will use their discretion and initially be lenient if any key workers appear to continue parking for free in the immediate future. But this won’t last long, so I recommend everyone re-acquaints themselves with our parking charges sooner rather than later.

Councillor Ray Bryan
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