Free parking brought in to help traders crippled by Wednesbury renovation works
Free parking has been opened up to shoppers in Wednesbury to mitigate the impact of renovation works in the town.
Businesses say they have been hit by falling trade since major works to improve the area around Market Place started last month.
Now council chiefs have launched free parking in one nearby car park in a bid to help businesses hit by the works.
Parking at the Ridding Lane car park, which has 47 spaces, will be free until October 22, when the renovations are expected to be completed by.
The standard charge at the car park is 80p for two hours.
It is understood that council chiefs are considering opening up other car parks in the area for free. Currently, paid parking is available at Spring Head, The Shambles, Upper High Street and High Bullen.
Last week Sandwell Council leader Kerrie Carmichael vowed to take action after traders said the area had become blighted by gridlocked roads, reducing footfall to a trickle.
It comes after local councillors wrote to the authority's chief executive, Kim Bromley-Derry, warning there would be "no traders left in the town" unless free parking was brought in.
Once completed, the works will see a multi-use event space created on Market Place, as well as the relocation of the open air market and new cycling and walking schemes.
Market Place will be closed between Union Street and Spring Head until July 29, while further closures will take place in October.
The scheme was launched following a consultation with residents, business owners, market traders and other stakeholders in November 2021.
Sandwell Council has apologised for "any short-term inconvenience" while the work takes place.