Free festive parking coming to Bolton
9:01am Wednesday 10th October 2012 in News
FREE parking will be launched at four of Bolton’s multi-storey car parks this Christmas in a bid to bring shoppers back and help town centre businesses.
The scheme, which has yet to get official council approval, will provide free parking in four car parks in the run-up to Christmas and into the New Year.
If the scheme is a success, the council will consider bringing in free parking when major events are held in the town centre.
Bolton Council is proposing free parking all weekend and on weekdays after 3pm from Thursday, November 1, to Sunday, January 27, at the car parks in Bow Street, Deane Road, Topp Way and the Octagon.
The plan is an extension of last year’s scheme, when there was free parking on Thursday evenings and Sundays during the festive period up to the beginning of January.
A decision will be made on Monday by Bolton Council’s cabinet and, if approved, the scheme will be implemented by the council’s partners, NCP which operates Deane Road, Topp Way and the Octagon and APCOA, which manages Bow Street.
There will be about 2,700 free spaces on offer to shoppers under the plan and the council is confident the scheme will boost High Street trade including both larger retailers as well as independent stores.
Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Cliff Morris, said: “We want to support our town centre traders and free parking is something a lot of retailers have been asking us to bring in.
“Our parking prices are competitive with neighbouring authorities, but the economic downturn has had an impact on our town centre, like every town across the country, and we know that times are tough.
“Introducing free parking in the run-up to Christmas will tie in well with late night shopping and the festive programme of entertainment and events that we are organising.
“We’re looking forward to continuing the free parking into the New Year to help at a time when people are usually looking to save a few pounds.
“If the free parking is approved and implemented we will assess the benefits of it and look at whether to continue it in future months for special events.”
Keith Davies, the council’s director of development and regeneration, said the proposal had been welcomed by town centre retailers when he met them to discuss the plan. He said: “One described it as a ‘cracking’ move. They saw it as a really helpful incentive by the council to support them through the pre and post-Christmas trading period.
“What we have got is a campaign with retailers to encourage people to shop in Bolton town centre for Christmas and free car parking is one component of that.
“While the council would be providing the free car parking there will be incentives and offers that the retailers will be offering.”