FREE parking in Halstead town centre could end if a new pay and display system is brought in.

The North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) is looking at implementing the new system across the area.

Both Halstead High Street and The Centre have been put forward for the potential change.

Drivers can currently park there for free for up to an hour between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday, apart from some bays when the market is on.

The new pay and display system would be over the same period, with allowances for markets.

Other roads touted for pay and display in the district are The Causeway in Braintree and Newland Street in Witham.

Documents say the new system is “to manage traffic and encourage appropriate use of off-street car parks for stays” and to “reduce the burden” on traffic officers needing to return to check how long cars have been parked.

It is estimated a total of between £140,000 and £190,000 will be made overall, with similar plans outlined for roads in Colchester, Harlow and Epping Forest.

Halstead Gazette: The Centre, in Halstead, which is currently free parking for up to an hourThe Centre, in Halstead, which is currently free parking for up to an hour (Image: Google)

A spokesman for the North Essex Parking Partnership said: “These sites have been proposed for consideration by the joint committee as part of a policy-driven initiative to improve traffic management and parking turnover in areas with high demand.

“The reports outlining the proposed traffic regulation orders (TROs) detail the reasoning behind each site selection.

“Paid parking has proven to be an effective tool for managing traffic flow and ensuring parking availability in busy areas.

“By deterring long-term parking and encouraging turnover, paid parking schemes can help keep roads clear and traffic flowing smoothly.

“It's important to note that the primary aim of civil parking enforcement is not to generate income but to manage parking and improve traffic flow.

“While revenue from paid parking may help cover the increasing costs of patrol and enforcement, any surplus is reinvested back into essential traffic management initiatives.”

Following the decision, which will be discussed at a meeting on Thursday evening, any approved TRO schemes will undergo a formal public advertising period so people can provide feedback.