Free parking will be made available in town centres across Tameside this festive season, in a Christmas boost to traders and shoppers.
Tameside Council is suspending charges at all town centre car parks from 3pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, starting from Thursday 21 November until the end of the year.
The current charges will then come back into effect while the initiative is evaluated and the information fed into a borough-wide parking review to inform future charging policies.
The council say the initiative aims to encourage shoppers to visit Tameside’s town centres, increasing footfall for local traders and supporting the local economy. The authority adds that it will help town centre businesses compete with out of town shopping centres where free car parking is generally available.
Ian Saxon, Director of Operations and Neighbourhoods at Tameside Council, said: “We want to support our local traders so, following a request from Ashton Town Team, we’re suspending parking charges in all of our town centre car parks after 3pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays during the festive season.
“While this will result in a financial loss to the council, we believe it’s the right thing to do to attract shoppers and boost business for Tameside’s traders and support the local economy. We’ll then use the information we gather during this period to inform our review on charging policies.
“It also adds to a host of Christmas celebrations planned across the borough, featuring lights switch-on, Father Christmas, brass bands and other entertainment, which kick-starts on Saturday (16 Nov) with the spectacular winter carnival in Stalybridge that includes a lantern parade. There’s also a variety of special seasonal events at our markets in Ashton and Hyde making it a fabulous Christmas for Tameside.”
Town centre car parks in Ashton, Stalybridge, Denton, Mossley, Hyde, Droylsden and Dukinfield are included. The only exceptions are to the car parks around Darnton Road and Mellor Road, in Ashton, as these are not used by town centre visitors.