SHOPPERS in Bewdley can get a discount on their purchases at independent stores as part of a new temporary scheme starting today (Monday, June 29).

The July Parking Payback scheme, which runs until Friday, July 31, means that shoppers can get a discount of £2 when they spend at least £5 in participating shops.

Councillor Fran Oborski, cabinet member for economic regeneration, planning and capital investments at Wyre Forest District Council, said: “We are delighted to be able to support local businesses and shoppers with this scheme which has been funded from government recovery grants.

"The scheme is for a limited time only to help independent businesses get back up and running following the effects of Covid-19.

“We recognise that Bewdley has a very appealing retail offer and that it is important for shoppers be able to park in town as well as visitors coming to enjoy the amenities.

"The situation in Bewdley is exceptional because it does not have any free parking, unlike Stourport and Kidderminster where customers can take advantage of limited free parking at the big supermarkets.

“This scheme also supports the message to stay local and shop local so we hope it will be successful for retailers and shoppers alike.”

To access the discount, shoppers must produce their car parking ticket or proof of payment when they pay for goods at participating stores.

During this time, ticket machines will issue two receipts for those paying by cash - one to be placed in the vehicle and the other to be handed over to a shop staff member to obtain the £2 discount.

Businesses taking part in the scheme include Bewdley Cobblers, Mooch Gifts and Home, Wyre Forest Books, Elemental Gifts, Elske Jewellery, Vanilla, Ifoothealthcare, Design by Kim Johnson, The Laundry Room, Park Royal, Bewdley Rooms, Bloom ‘n Blender, Notions, The Melting Pot, Load Street Deli and Bewdley Museum.

Traders in the area had previously raised concerns that they had not been consulted with prior to the scheme being announced.

Jon May, of Mooch Gifts and Home, told The Shuttle: "We wanted two hours of free parking to encourage customers back but it was clear from the council that it was either this or nothing. That's why we decided to come on board - if we didn't join, other businesses would and we would miss out on that government grant.

"The gamble for businesses involved is there's a set amount given as a grant and if we end up giving out more £2 vouchers than that amount, it comes out of our own pocket. That's why some businesses have decided against it.

"It also doesn't seem right that small businesses in Stourport and Kidderminster aren't being offered the same chance.

"It will be interesting to see how many people use it. We need to be doing everything we can to help our high streets."

Wyre Forest District Council is encouraging people to pay for parking using the JustPark app and online methods in order to minimise risk of spreading coronavirus.

People who have paid using JustPark or who have a valid season ticket will be able to confirm their payment for parking by showing their receipt on the screen of their mobile phone to a participating retailer.