Use free parking in Banbury to make most of independent businesses

Traders in Parsons Street back Small Business Saturday, with The Artery owner Barry Whitehouse on the right. NNL-171128-125421009
Traders in Parsons Street back Small Business Saturday, with The Artery owner Barry Whitehouse on the right. NNL-171128-125421009

Shoppers are urged to support the wide variety of independent businesses in Banbury as motorists can park for free in council-run car parks today (Saturday, December 2).

The past few days will hopefully be a big boost to independents with late night shopping on Thursday and Small Business Saturday flying the flag for shop owners.

And with more than 60 independent stores and traders in the Old Town, there has not been a better time in recent years to shop local.

Barry Whitehouse, who owns The Artery on Parsons Street, is confident customers will get behind small businesses, especially with the attraction of free parking.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to see what’s on offer in the Old Town by exploring and staying longer with free parking,” he said.

“I think we have got a town to be really proud of and it’s great that we’re getting new shops and spreading the positivity out there, rather than doom and gloom.”

Parsons Street and the surrounding area will be a hive of activity only days after traders opened until late on Thursday.

The global campaign is an annual reaction to the rush of spending big businesses enjoy around Black Friday.

Mr Whitehouse believes Banbury is bucking the national trend of small business closing and empty premises.

“It’s kind of nice at the moment as I call it a ‘renaissance in retail’ with larger stores moving out, it’s making space for new independents,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a boom for the town centre these days so there is a lot to be proud of.”

Cherwell District Council is getting behind the scheme by waiving parking fees at its car parks in Banbury and Bicester on Saturday.

Lead member for estates and economy Cllr Lynn Pratt said: “We hope by making parking free on one of the busiest shopping days of the year it will encourage people to visit the town centre and check if they can get it from a local retailer before they buy.”