Friday, November 15, 2013

News: Free parking back to boost business

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Businesses in Rotherham town centre are hoping for a busy festive period again this year as the Council begins offering free parking on Saturdays from this weekend.

Car parking will be free in all Council-run off-street car parks and on-street parking bays on Saturdays from November 16, up to and including December 21.

The scheme is part of the campaign to boost festive trade in Rotherham which started with the annual Christmas lights switch-on this week.

One of the key recommendations in the Mary Portas High Street Review was that high streets and town centres should have the flexibility to introduce local parking initiatives to boost trade. This is particularly pertinent to Rotherham, given the proximity to Parkgate and Meadowhall both of which have a free parking offer. Rotherham town centre was one of 27 areas to be named as a "Portas Pilot" and received £100,000 of government funding to support the high street.

Tim O'Connell, business development manager at Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RiDO), said: "We have fantastic businesses operating here in our town centre, offering something different and unique to what you will typically find at our nearest competitors.

"Free Saturday parking provides another incentive for shoppers to visit the town centre and Shop Local this Christmas.

"Our local independent shops have a reputation for providing quality products and first-class customer service, and your support can really make a difference to your town and Rotherham's local economy."

In October, the council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development approved plans to use £24,000 from council revenue budgets to cover the cost of the scheme which has been successful in previous years.

Although parking is free on Saturdays, maximum stay restrictions will remain in force to help ensure parking is available to those shopping in the town.

Maximum stay restrictions will remain in force to help ensure parking is available to those shopping in the town. Disabled bays will remain strictly for the use of blue badge holders only and free parking is also not applicable in private car parks.

Also launched this week is the Town Centre's Gift Guide, which brings together gift ideas available from the town's independent and national retailers. It can be picked up in a number of stores in the town centre.

Rotherham town centre website

Images: RMBC

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