I paid my first visit to Hereford recently, after shielding since March.

Armed with wipes, hand gel, tissues, gloves and mask, I drove into St Owen Street. No parking space there.

I drove round to Gaol Street car park, which was also full, but after a 10-minute wait, a space appeared.

My feeling was mainly relief that other people were out and about, but I was very surprised to find shops open and staff welcoming, but there were very few customers in these shops.

So where were all the car owners?

I then realised that the generous decision of the council to offer free parking until Friday, July 24, to encourage shoppers back into town, was being used by workers.

This is such a shame.

The shops need customers but if customers can’t park, aren’t on a bus route, don’t have a bike or, like me, can’t walk too far, they are not going to be able to support the shops and we will be seeing even more empty premises.

Please support our retail outlets by parking away from the town centre and hope that our shops survive this unprecedented time.

Jan Bromage