Bolton Council has agreed to implement a new free parking initiative in the town centre from the end of May, to boost high street trade.
This new initiative follows a massively popular free parking offer during Christmas 2012, which ran on weekdays after 3pm and all day Saturday and Sunday at four of the multi-storey car parks.
This initiative was very successful at attracting shoppers into the town centre, with significant growth in usage of the car parks. Town centre retailers also benefited from the scheme, with many showing a better trading performance than Christmas 2011. Surveys carried out at Topp Way Car Park and the ‘Proper Offer’ shop in the town centre showed customers had been encouraged to come to the town centre because of the free car parking.
The new free parking scheme will run for a year from May 25 2013 and will offer free parking all day Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holidays at Topp Way, Deane Road and Octagon multi-storey car parks. There will also be free parking on weekdays after 3pm at these car parks over the Christmas period between early November 2013 and January 2014.
The Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris said: “Our free parking offer last Christmas was a real boost for the town centre and brought lots of new shoppers to the town. 61% of shoppers surveyed said it had encouraged them to come to Bolton for their shopping and we had feedback from retailers that it increased footfall and improved their sales figures.
“We appreciate that times are tough at the moment for retailers and residents. We want to do everything in our power to boost our town centre, and support our businesses and our residents, and so we are delighted to run the scheme for a full year.”
Retailers will also be working with the council to implement offers and incentives which link in with the free parking times.
Manager for Beales, Alison Cash added: “We’re really pleased the council is extending the free parking scheme for a full year. The free parking initiative has been very positive for Beales in the town centre and we have seen positive sales growth particularly at the weekends.”
Crompton Place Manager, Malcolm Angus, said: “Parking incentive schemes are very popular with our loyal shoppers so we definitely welcome this move by Bolton Council.
“It is pleasing to see support like this from the local authority to encourage more people to the town which is crucial for a healthy retail industry in Bolton.”
The council’s partners NCP, who operate Deane Road, Topp Way and the Octagon are implementing the scheme.