Private parking garages will face new rules this summer to prevent them from targeting motorists and preventing people from returning to city centers.
The move is part of a new £ 56 million “Welcome Back” fund that will help Britain’s main roads and coastal towns reopen safely as coronavirus restrictions are eased before the summer, the government said.
The funding will allow councils to improve the appearance of local areas and through improved green spaces, more outdoor seating areas, as well as markets and pop-up food stalls.
Under the measures outlined by Community Secretary Robert Jenrick, pubs are allowed to pitch tents in gardens throughout the summer.
Caps on private parking fees are also being introduced to curb “cowboy parking firms” and give drivers confidence in cities.
A portion of the funding will be provided specifically for coastal areas, with support for all English seaside resorts as part of the government’s plans to help holidaymakers this year.
The boost in funding for England’s seaside resorts comes as scientists warned the prospect of foreign holidays this summer was unlikely due to the risks Covid variants pose in other countries.
Meanwhile, Labor said the fund was “a drop in the ocean” and that it was “not clear which areas will benefit”.
As part of its roadmap out of England’s coronavirus restrictions and subject to the ongoing assessment of coronavirus data, the government plans to lift its stay at home order starting March 29, with further gradual easing to follow.
Outdoor attractions, non-essential retail stores, and some vacation rentals could reopen after April 12, and most social contact restrictions could be lifted from June 21.
Mr. Jenrick said, “As we move out of lockdown to the next level of the roadmap, we all look forward to being back with friends and family outdoors and returning safely and happily to our favorite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants .
“Our Welcome Back Fund supports all cities and main roads in preparing for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses get shoppers, guests and tourists back safely.
“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we have been missing so much.”
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MCHLG) said the Welcome Back Fund could be used by councils to invest in street planting, green spaces, seating areas, run advertising campaigns or hold events like markets and festivals.
Money could also be spent on signage to promote social distancing and combat graffiti.
In addition, pubs and restaurants, including premises in listed buildings, will have the flexibility to set up tents and offer customers more outdoor space throughout the summer than in the current 28 days.
Some 70 councils will also receive “focused, hands-on assistance” from the government’s High Streets Task Force, known as the “Elite Team of High Street Experts,” who will advise them on how to adapt to changing consumer needs so that they can prosper for years to come ”.
As part of the government’s response to the consultation on the park code framework, it will “curb unfair tickets and fight cowboy park companies” by introducing a simplified appeals process and upper limits on private parking fees.
Steve Reed, secretary of shadow communities, said, “This is just a drop in the bucket compared to what the Conservatives took away in a decade of driving our main roads and coastal towns into deep decline, and it is not clear which areas will benefit from it. “
“The Conservatives have done nothing to improve the playing field between stores and online retailers. Now they want to hollow out the main streets by temporarily selling closed stores to wealthy developers so they can never reopen as stores. “