Parking charges in Torridge District Council (TDC) car parks will be suspended until June 15.

The council took the decision to suspend charges in response to the coronavirus crisis back in March.

Parking enforcement in car parks not in coastal areas was due to recommence on June 1, but TDC has pushed the date back to support shop and business owners returning to their premises to make preparations for reopening.

All car parking permits have also been extended for the time businesses were forced to close.

All non-essential retail, including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be able to reopen from June 15.

However business need to meet the government’s five tests and follow the Covid-19 secure guidelines, giving them around three weeks to prepare.

TDC leader, Councillor Ken James, said: “This will be a busy time for retail and other businesses who will no doubt be able to make good use of the free parking and make it one less thing to worry about as they make their preparations to reopen.

“Next week we will also be announcing further support grants for businesses and as before we will continue to do everything we can to ensure a successful resurgence of the local economy during these difficult times.

“It should certainly also be a time when we should shop local, as much as we can, to support the reopenings.”