A theatre worker from Stevenage has been told she must pay the full cost of her residential car parking permit, despite having no income during the coronavirus lockdown.

Rebecca Sheridan, who lives in Mulberry House in Stevenage town centre, was told by council workers that she would still be charged the full £87 a month for keeping her car in the St George’s Way multi-storey car park.

Ms Sheridan, who has applied for universal credit, said residents who live in Mulberry House and other flats on Park Place have received similar replies – and are “shocked” and “angry” at the refusal to offer discounts in the current climate.

“This is a really hard time for everyone and we’re all supposed to be in this together,” Ms Sheridan said. “The council said they are busy helping local people, but I am a local person in need, and they’re not helping me – they’re choosing not to. They’re taking my money for a service I have no choice but to use.”

Ms Sheridan was told she could either cancel her permit – for a charge of £35 – or park on nearby residential roads. However, the St George’s Way multi-storey is the only secure place she can leave her car within convenient distance of her flat.

“I’m not asking it to be free, but we just want some help. We just want the council to show they actually care,” she added. “It is so stressful to have no income, no money coming into my account at all – and still have huge sums of money being taken out by the council.”

Cllr Lloyd Briscoe, executive member for economy, enterprise and transport at Stevenage Borough Council, said the council is “not currently looking at offering free car parking at St George’s Way multi-storey” because of the “significant maintenance costs”.

He added: “There are a number of other free car parking options in the town centre that we have directed this resident to.”

While Ms Sheridan’s universal credit application will provide her with £94 a week, this is not likely to come through for at least two weeks – and she said a quarter of that will be going on her car parking charges.

Ms Sheridan also said that another Mulberry House resident, who is a police officer in London, is struggling to get into work as she cannot afford to leave her car in the multi-storey, and has been forced to keep it with her family in Biggleswade.