RESIDENTS driving into Blackburn or Darwen to get their coronavirus vaccination will be able to park for free in various sites across the borough, the council has announced.

From tomorrow  (January 18) several council-owned car parks will be allocated by the local authority to support the roll out of the NHS’s vaccination programme.

It comes as Blackburn Cathedral opens as a mass vaccination centre on the same day.

Other vaccination centres are already up and running.

A council spokesman said: "To make it quicker and easier for residents to be vaccinated, we’re offering FREE parking at sites across the borough from Monday."

Car parks include:

Simmons Street – this has been allocated as a free car park for anyone using the vaccination centre based within Barbara Castle Way Health Centre.

Weir Street and Penny Street – these have been allocated as free car parks for anyone using the vaccination centre based within Blackburn Cathedral.

Bank Bottoms – this has been allocated as a free car park for anyone using the vaccination centre based in Darwen Health Centre. The Council has also made Darwen Leisure Centre car park available with the centre currently closed.

Marshalls in operation on the sites will check if anyone parking there is going for a vaccination and ensure no tickets are handed out.

Thousands of people aged 80 and over are being invited to book a coronavirus vaccination at a new NHS larger scale vaccination centre at Blackburn Cathedral

People who are eligible, live within 45 minutes’ drive from the new vaccination site and who haven’t already been vaccinated by their local GP led vaccination services or hospital hub, will receive letters from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service, telling them how they can book their appointment.

Now that more doses of Covid-19 vaccines are available, the NHS is able to open more vaccination services in Lancashire and South Cumbria, including large vaccination centres and, in the near future, pharmacies.

Blackburn Cathedral is one of a number of larger sites opening across Lancashire and South Cumbria in the coming weeks to offer a convenient alternative to GP and hospital services, which can deliver thousands of vaccinations every week.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "The vaccination programme is ramping up locally and Blackburn Cathedral’s crypt will be opening on Monday (January 18) as the first mass vaccination site in Lancashire. We want to do everything we can to support the efforts of our NHS partners and help our residents get their vaccine. We hope offering free parking in key locations will make attending appointments as easy as possible."