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Free parking for Christmas
VISITORS and traders in Malvern have been given an early Christmas present with the news that free parking will be available in the town in the run up to the big day.
Malvern Hills District Council has wasted no time in announcing that visitors will be able to park for free in all of its car parks across the district on the four Fridays and Saturdays leading up to Christmas, starting on November 30.
The move is a notable departure from the council’s strategy in recent years. In 2010 no concessions at all were made for Christmas parking, while that was also set to be the case last year until calls from concerned councillors saw free parking in the week before Christmas announced at the 11th hour.
Councillor Bronwen Behan, portfolio holder for environmental control, said the council recognises the positive impact of free parking and the early announcement is intended to give traders as much time as possible to plan accordingly.
She said: “We know how important the Christmas period is for businesses, especially in this difficult economic climate.
“We are keen to support our local businesses and know that providing free parking really does help bring in additional seasonal trade.”
Chris Marks, chairman of Great Malvern Association or Traders, called it “brilliant news. Parking should be an attraction, not a deterrent and if it is free then people are far more likely to pop into town and hopefully spend their money here,” he said. “There is obviously competition – free parking is available out of town and in other places locally, and this will have a real impact.
“For 90 per cent of traders in Malvern, Christmas is the most important time of the year. “It is about 30-40 per cent of your annual trade in just a two or three month period. It is where you make your money.”
Christopher Davis, director of Brays in Worcester Road, said: “If the council can give support to the shops in the town centre then I think that is a very good thing.”
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