PARKING in York should be made free after 3pm - according to a leading retail figure.

Phil Pinder, chair of York Retail Forum, suggested the measure as a way to boost the economy as the country emerges from lockdown.

It follows concerns over City of York Council’s current parking offer - which offers two free hours in July and one hour in August after 10am at some council car parks for users of the Ringo Parking App.

Private company Bransby Wilson, which operates Peel Street car park at the back of Walmgate, is offering its 70 spaces free for a maximum of four hours to people who are visiting participating city centre shops and restaurants.

Mr Pinder said: “Right now, we need to see a real car parking offer that will help our city centre.

“Huge thanks to private operator Bransby Wilson who have done this, we now need the council to do something much better or we risk even more shops closing as more bills pour in, but not the funds to pay them. Please help save the high street.”

He said the Retail Forum has suggested free parking after 3pm to boost the early evening economy - and because it would be an easier system to understand.

Cllr Claire Douglas told a meeting last week that residents and visitors find the council’s parking offer “hard to understand”.

But a council officer said the offer only applies at some car parks because the local authority does not want to encourage more car journeys within the inner ring road.