Hopes that shoppers in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge could soon be given 30 minutes of free parking to encourage local trade have been given a boost this week.

In the wake of the Morrisons closure in Burnham and reduced footfall, the Town Council and Burnham Chamber of Trade have both urged Sedgemoor District Council to consider half an hour’s free parking for shoppers.

At this week’s meeting of the Town Council, it emerged that Sedgemoor is “considering the implications of free parking” at the car parks in Lynton Road and Bank Street.

Cllr Louise Parkin welcomed the news, but said: “I would like to see the free parking in place before the autumn when the town shops will desperately need it. We need to keep on at Sedgemoor about this – we need a timescale.”

Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton told Monday’s meeting: “I am encouraged that they are at least considering it. In the past it’s been dismissed.”

Denise Emery, the Town Council Clerk, said: “Since the closure of Morrisons there is concern that residents are choosing out-of-town shopping at Tesco and Asda because parking is free. The first half an hour free in Lynton Road and Bank Street car parks would allow residents to pop in and pick up shopping items in town.”

She wrote to the district council in March calling on Sedgemoor to consider the proposed changes, especially following the recent 10% hike across the district.

The District Council has responded by saying it is “currently considering the implications of free parking in Sedgemoor District Council car parks.”

The calls for free parking were first raised by local businesses during an open meeting organised by Burnham Chamber of Trade in January and it too has discussions underway with the district council.