FREE parking for key workers in car parks run by Dorset Council comes to an end today(Weds).

While the car parks provide a much-needed source of funding for the council, charges also allow for a consistent turn-around of vehicles. This means visitors don’t stay any longer than they need to and frees up spaces for other vehicles that arrive throughout the day.

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

While ticket machines will accept cash, the council recommends that contactless payment methods via the Just Park service are used. If you have a mobile phone you can phone, text or use the smartphone app to pay for parking without touching the ticket machine.

Cllr Ray Bryan, 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 three 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."