Parking charges reintroduced as town centres open

Published Tuesday 7 July 2020

Parking charges are to be reinstated at all Council-run car parks in the Harborough district on Monday 13 July 2020 after a lengthy period of suspension.

More temporary ‘pop and shop’ bays are being introduced with the free time-period being extended from 30 minutes to one hour. This will allow shoppers to park for a short period for free in light of some of the on-street parking bays currently being unavailable due to road closures.

Pay by phone sticker on parking machineDrivers will also temporarily not need to input their vehicle registration number if purchasing a pay and display ticket as they were previously required to do.

Social distancing markings have also been introduced by all pay and display machines.

Harborough District Council has delayed bringing back parking charges for number of weeks after town centres were given the go-ahead by Government to reopen. 

Drivers are being urged to use non-cash methods of payment to minimise contact with pay and display machines – either using the PaybyPhone app or by calling the telephone number displayed on signs in car parks. There are no add-on transaction costs for phone payments as the Council will continue to absorb these.

The Council said parking charges provide essential income to pay for frontline services. Income generated from charges also pays for ongoing maintenance to car parks across the district. They also encourage turnover of spaces and ensure parking spaces are available for shoppers when they need them.

Cllr Paul Dann, Harborough District Council’s Cabinet lead for corporate and regulatory services, said: “Now town centres have reopened there is an increased demand for spaces at car parks. Following feedback from businesses we have delayed reinstating parking charges for as long as possible whilst being mindful of the significant loss of revenue incurred by the Council during the long period the charges were suspended. I urge shoppers to use phone payments if at all possible.”

New ‘pop and shop’ bays are being introduced in George Street in Lutterworth and King’s Head Place car park in Market Harborough. New and existing pop and shop bays will allow for one hour’s free parking, instead of the previous 30 mins to take into account the likelihood of shoppers having to queue outside shops.

The Council is also taking steps to address connectivity issues, experienced by some car park users who opt to pay by card, and is working with a number of external organisations to improve this across the district.

Anthony Cashel, Marketing Director at PayByPhone, said: “The PayByPhone app enables the residents of and visitors to Harborough district to pay for their parking safely, without having to handle cash or to touch the payment machines. The app is quick and easy to install and to use. Users can extend their parking session from anywhere, in accordance with the car parks’ terms and conditions, and opt to receive text message reminders before their parking session expires, which helps to avoid parking fines.”

Download the PaybyPhone app at

Parking charges apply Monday to Saturday from 7am to 6pm. Charges are not applicable on Sundays or bank holidays.

Those who have a blue badge are able to park in disabled bays for free, for the first three hours, but must display their blue badge and timer clock on their dashboard. After three hours parking charges apply.

Find out more about Harborough District Council-run car parks at 

On-street parking regulations also apply and are being enforced.