CHANGES to car parking charges in Barnsley town centre to encourage residents to support local businesses and use the newly-improved area are now in effect.

The changes, which were implemented today, mean that free parking in town centre car parks is now extended to weekday evenings from 5pm, as well as three hours at the weekend.

There are two zones of car parking - the shopper zone which is spaces within a three-minute walk of the centre of town, and the commuter zone which is spaces within a five-minute walk of town.

All off-street car parks are now free for three hours at the weekend - charges of £2 for up to three hours will apply during the week.

Whilst after three hours a rate of 50p per 30 minutes will be charged in the shopper zone, and 30p per 30 minutes in the commuter zone.

Coun Chris Lamb, cabinet spokesperson for environment and transport, said: “The Glass Works and wider investment in our town centre are at the very heart of our vision for a growing Barnsley, and we want to make sure our parking arrangements encourage people to visit our fantastic town centre.

“It’s vital we have appropriate spaces for them when they do.

“The two-zone price structure will hopefully encourage those parking all day every day to park a little further out of the town centre at a reduced rate, while making sure we have space for people visiting the town.

“We’re also extending our restrictions around the clock so we can make sure we don’t have cars moving about in pedestrian areas where people have come to enjoy an evening out. We want people to come and feel safe and secure while enjoying our evening economy.

“In the coming months we’ll also be looking to bring in a variety of technologies to make it even easier for people to find a space and pay for their parking and, as well as the creation of 51 new family parking bays where it will be easier to get children in and out of car seats and prams, and an extra 147 disabled parking bays.”