Christmas shoppers to benefit from free parking at Uttlesford car parks over the festive period

Saffron Walden Town Council and will join forces to fight the Kier Appeal, due to

Saffron Walden Town Council and will join forces to fight the Kier Appeal, due to take place on December 9, at Uttlesford District Council. - Credit: Archant

Christmas shoppers are set to benefit from free car parking at nearly all district council-run car parks in the run-up to the festive period.

The scheme, aimed at increasing trade for local businesses, will see free car parking introduced after 3pm from December 1–23, and all day from Christmas Eve through to January 2.

Only the 294-space Fairycroft car park at Waitrose, which closes in January 2015 for about six months over the store’s redevelopment, will not be offering free parking during that time.

But it will be free after 3pm on Saturday December 6, 13 and 20.

The scheme was discussed at a meeting of Uttlesford District Council’s cabinet on Tuesday night, where it received the support of Councillor Julie Redfern.

She said: “To be able to park every afternoon, to park for free after 3pm – I hope it will encourage people to shop in Uttlesford rather than the faceless shopping centres that people drive to.”

It is estimated the district council will miss out on about £18,000 in lost revenue with the introduction of the scheme.

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“We are going some way to help our local businesses to keep trading throughout what has been a difficult period, and I think it’s a really good for our local shops,” said council leader Howard Rolfe, adding that free car parking for a set number of hours, rather than all day up till Christmas, would benefit traders more than having no limit.

In Stansted Mountfitchet, Crafton Green and Lower Street car parks will also offer all-day free parking on Saturday, December 6, when the village celebrates its festive Frost Fayre.

Richard Ketteridge, owner of jewellery shop Something Elegant on Market Walk, Saffron Walden,thought the move would bring more shoppers to the town.

“Anything that can be done to help footfall is welcome,” he said.