Parking times at 600 bays on Transport for London (TfL) red route bays have been increased from 20 to 30 minutes to encourage shoppers to stop and shop on London’s high streets.

Fronted by London Mayor Boris Johnson the ‘Stop & Shop’ initiative is designed to provide greater flexibility for motorists to park and shop, pay a bill or run an errand.

The changes follows consultation with Londoners, businesses and 22 boroughs councils.

“Parking is a hot topic for Londoners going about their daily lives, as well as for the capital’s businesses and retailers,” Johnson said. “I’m thrilled that we have been able to extend parking time in our high streets. This will make a huge difference to local businesses and I hope everyone will embrace the new ‘Stop and Shop’ bays.”

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) London Chairman  Sue Terpilowski welcomed the plans. “The FSB has long argued that parking charges and availability inhibit local spend and 64% of our members say it has a negative impact on their business.

“This sensible measure will enable more customers to shop locally and enable small businesses to compete with ‘free to park’ out of town shopping centres.”

The changes will not affect loading bays on the Red Routes – which will continue to permit people to load or unload for 20 minutes.