Banbury car parks to suspend charges to boost sales

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Cherwell District Council (CDC) is to introduce temporary free parking across its car parks to support Small Business Saturday and the January sales.

The scheme will kick off for one day on Saturday December 3 as part of the council’s support of Small Business Saturday, a UK-wide campaign which highlights small business successes and encourages customers to ‘shop local’ and support their local independent retailers.

Free parking will once again be introduced in January of next year for the whole month to encourage post Christmas trade and allow shoppers to take advantage of the traditional January sales. Car parks operated by CDC will be free from 3pm onwards every day.

Coucillor George Reynolds, Cherwell’s deputy leader, said: “We know there is demand for free parking all year round but as this is not currently viable we are looking at other ways we can show our support for the town centres.

“Small Business Saturday is all about giving independent traders the platform to show off what they have to offer and encouraging shoppers to explore their unique range of goods.

“In the run up to Christmas it’s the perfect opportunity to browse for the perfect present and we are hoping the free parking initiative will entice even more people into the town to support their local businesses at this crucial time of year.

“In addition to Small Business Saturday we are extending the season of goodwill into 2017 and providing free parking after 3pm for the entire month of January. We hope it will tempt people into town to make the most of the sales and maintain high levels of footfall in the town.”

The scheme will come as a welcome relief to Banbury’s Old Town traders after the closure of the Castle Street multi-story carpark eliminated 620 car parking spaces and reduced footfall in the area. The free parking scheme will allow shoppers to browse the town’s many independent retailers free of time restrictions.

For Small Business Saturday signs will be displayed at the entrance to car parks and at the ticket machines advertising free parking on Saturday, 3 December.

Following this, further signage and posters will be displayed from January 1 to 31 inclusive promoting free parking every day from 3pm.

Car parking charges currently apply in Cherwell District Council’s Banbury car parks between the hours of 8am and 7pm.

Participating Cherwell District Council car parks will be clearly signed.

As it is not a car park, the Bridge Street drop off point in Banbury will not be included in the promotion.

Normal parking charges will apply between 8am and 3pm and all car parks will remain subject to the standard regulations such as time restrictions.

For more information on Cherwell District Council’s car parks including details of participating car parks visit www.cherwell.gov.uk/carparks.