Published: Friday, 3rd Jul 2020

Town centre businesses welcoming back customers following the easing of lockdown restrictions will receive an extra boost, thanks to Bolton Council’s new parking initiative.

From Tuesday (July 7) shoppers and visitors will enjoy up to two hours of free parking on weekdays at Ashburner Street car park and all three town centre NCP multi-storeys.

The move complements the existing offer which gives drivers all-day free parking at weekends and bank holidays in the Octagon, Topp Way and Deane Road multi-storey car parks.

Free weekday and Saturday parking in on street pay and display bays is set to start during August, after machines have been reconfigured.

Last week the council unveiled a £1.25m support package which, in addition to free parking, includes measures to support town centres across the borough.

It includes having Town Centre Information Officers in every district, developing a rewards scheme, new social distancing signage, hand sanitiser stations and a marketing campaign.

The offer has now been approved by councillors.

We want to get Bolton shopping again.

Bolton Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Martyn Cox, said: “We want to get Bolton shopping again, that is why we’ve made it even easier and more convenient to visit the town centre.

“Together with the existing weekend scheme, and the annual offer for Christmas shoppers, visitors will enjoy free or discounted parking in Bolton for the foreseeable future.

“The public should be assured that safety measures are in place and I urge everyone who can to come out and support our town centre businesses.

“The weekday parking offer will benefit Bolton Market’s loyal customers  – the traders have been remarkable during the pandemic, with many introducing online ordering. This will be an added boost.”

The additional cost of the free weekday parking will be fully covered by Bolton Council and it is anticipated that the offer will be in place until November.

It follows extensive conversations with local businesses about the support they need and how the council can help high streets across the borough to recover after lockdown.

The Council will maintain a constant dialogue with local businesses and may consider additional support measures as necessary.

Bolton Council Leader, Cllr David Greenhalgh, added: “We know how hard the last few months have been for businesses of all types and sizes right across the borough.

“I’m proud of the town centre support package we have put together that will also benefit businesses in Farnworth, Horwich, Little Lever and Westhoughton high streets.

“Hospitality has been really hit hard and I’m pleased that more businesses can reopen this Saturday.

“Bolton always backs business, but it has never been more important to show our support. We can all play our part by spending locally wherever possible.

“Of course, we all need to continue to take precautions – as a council we’ve already widened footpaths, and with the new support package in place we will be installing more signage in town centres.

“We want people to support their high streets and feel safe and confident when doing so.”