PARKING in Rotherham Council-owned car parks on Saturdays will no longer be free from early next year owing to budget constraints. Charges will be reinstated for both council-run car parks and on-street parking bays from Saturday, January 8.
A council spokesman said that the reintroduction of charges comes after "every alternative funding option" was exhausted, in an effort to "try to resolve the budget gap and continue some form of parking incentive."
Rotherham Council's cabinet member for the town centre, Coun Richard Russell, said: "The funding we received to pay for free parking incentives was actually cut in July.
"But the authority agreed to find funding of its own to continue free Saturday parking to cover the Christmas period, which we know is so important to local traders.
"Unfortunately, funding to continue the scheme just is not available, especially as other essential services must continue under already reduced budgets."
He added: "From speaking to the owners of businesses in town, we know that free parking has proved beneficial and we will continue to do our very best to look for ways in which we could continue to fund the scheme in the future."
Rotherham Council is also planning to amend its signs to let motorists know of the imminent changes.
A council spokesman added: "The town centre does, in comparison to neighbouring towns, offer low cost and plentiful parking. It costs only 1.20 for two hours of parking in all council-run off street car parks and 2.50 for two hours for all on-street parking."