Festive free car parking in Chesterfield

NDETLM111102A3 - Chesterfield car park

NDETLM111102A3 - Chesterfield car park

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FREE car parking after 4pm is set to be offered in Chesterfield’s council sites in the run-up to Christmas.

The move to support late night festive shopping was initially agreed by the borough council this week despite it costing an estimated £9,500 in income shortfall.

Under plans parking at council-operated sites will be free after 4pm on designated days – with traders open until 7pm on Thursdays from November 24 up to the week before Christmas and late night opening every day until 8pm between Monday December 19 and Friday December 23.

“People are struggling in these tough financial times and Christmas will be an expense that will hit hard with many residents,” said Cllr Chris Ludlow, executive member for environment.

“We want to encourage people to shop locally in Chesterfield and having free parking will hopefully be an attraction that will keep our shops and markets busy over the Christmas shopping period.”

The measure, agreed at Tuesday’s executive member for environment meeting, will go to cabinet on Tuesday for final approval.

Reports said the authority was around £15,000 short of an increased income target for parking services at the half year position of 2011-12.

Offering free parking after 4pm during the festive season would add around £9,500 to the forecast deficit.

It was also agreed to carry out a full review of parking policy over the coming months so there are no proposed changes to existing charges.

We asked our Facebook fans what they thought.

Dave Agutter said: “Definite positive. It would encourage shoppers into town centre shopping away from the lure of normal out of town shopping centres or large retailers at what is usually quieter periods.”

Julie Darby added: “What a fantastic idea, I would definitely go shop in our town again. The parking prices put me off and I would rather go to a big shopping centre where the parking is free.

“This will be great for our local traders.”

But Simon Redding wrote: “Given that the parking limits congestion and is one of the major income streams for the council I’ll be expecting a town jammed with motor vehicles and fumes and more council service cuts. Not great...”

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