Published: Thursday, 12th Nov 2020

Visitors to Bolton town centre can continue to enjoy free parking for another seven months.

A free two-hour parking offer was introduced in Summer to help struggling town centre businesses following the first Covid-19 lockdown. 

Now Bolton Council has agreed to extend the free two-hour weekday, Saturday and Bank Holiday parking promotion until June 2021. 

The offer will apply in 356 town centre pay and display bays and Bolton Market’s car park. 

Motorists still need to get a ticket for their parking even though they will not need to pay for the first two hours, and failure to display a ticket could result in a parking fine. 

Council chiefs have confirmed that free two-hour weekday parking at Octagon; Topp Way, and Deane Road NCP multi-storeys has also been extended.

And the all-day offer of free parking at NCP town centre multi-storey car parks at weekends and Bank Holidays will also continue until June.

Bolton Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Martyn Cox, said: “The current national lockdown is having a major impact on our town centre businesses, many of which have been forced to close their doors to customers. 

“As we hopefully emerge from these restrictions in early December, we hope more people will be able to safely return to Bolton town centre, and our other district centres. 

“In the run up to Christmas we want people to enjoy everything that’s on offer here in Bolton. 

“A lot depends on what happens in the next few weeks. However, it will be a relief when our non-essential retail, our hospitality sector and other businesses can re-open again in the weeks leading up to Christmas. 

“For many businesses, pre-Christmas trade is essential to their livelihood and it is important that we do all we can to give Bolton’s traders a boost at this critical time.

“With this free parking offer we want to help our business community which has been hit hard by the pandemic. And we hope it will make it easier for our residents to come into town and support those local businesses. 

“But we want to go further than the Christmas period and provide this support as we go into the New Year. With this in mind, we’ve taken the decision to extend the parking offer into next summer.”

On street parking is already free on Sundays in Bolton town centre - Ashburner St is limited to two hours free parking on Sundays. Parking is also free all-year round in district centres.

Bolton Council Leader, Cllr David Greenhalgh, added: “We all hope the current lockdown measures will have the desired effect and we will be able to properly welcome everyone back to Bolton in the run up to Christmas. 

“While many shops and businesses have been able to stay open in the last few weeks to provide essential goods and services, lots of our retailers and firms have regrettably had to close their doors. 

“As more people hopefully come back into the town in December, please remember if you are heading out to stay safe. 

“We know that our residents want to shop local and this will hopefully encourage them to support our businesses.

“Of course it is important that we all continue to practise social distancing, wear a face covering when you’re inside shops and take necessary precautions.”