Cornwall Council has announced when drivers will have to start paying for its car parks again – and it's longer than you might think.

There has been much speculation on social media recently over whether council car parks have started charging again, with rumours that fees returned again on April 1.

However, the council has this afternoon confirmed that all its car parks will remain free to use until mid-May, in order to support high streets as they get back to business.

It means people will not have to pay for a ticket until May 17 this year, as businesses such as non-essential shops, hairdressers and outside hospitality are set to reopen on Monday (April 12).

Cornwall Council suspended parking charges at the beginning of lockdown in January to limit the spread of coronavirus and help those working from home find a parking space.

The plan is to resume charging on May 17, in line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown when further relaxations come into force, such as indoor use of pubs and restaurants.

The council said it will also no longer recognise the Government-issued NHS Free Parking Pass within its car parks from May 17.

This is due to the council having implemented its own healthcare parking permit scheme, with more than 2,500 permits already having been issued to healthcare professionals working within Cornwall's communities.

These permits enable the holder to park safely on yellow lines, thereby maximising the amount of time spent delivering care to local residents within their homes.