Shaftesbury Chamber of Commerce has arranged a small Christmas gift for local shoppers and traders – town centre car parking charges will be suspended.
“There will be free parking on every Saturday, for the whole of December,” said Chairman David Perry. David hopes that the free parking will bring Christmas shoppers into the town.
“Hopefully it will encourage people to shop in Shaftesbury for their Christmas shopping rather than anywhere else,” said David. “Shaftesbury is a fantastic place with lots of independent shops. I don’t think the car parking is very expensive but free parking will help pay for a couple of coffees.”
David says he’s grateful to Shaftesbury Town Council’s Business Manager, Brie Logan, for letting the chamber know about this opportunity. Brie discovered that Shaftesbury could request four free parking days from car park operator, North Dorset District Council.
“The Town Council was instrumental in finding out whether we could have this and securing it. The money from car parking in Shaftesbury doesn’t go to Shaftesbury. It goes to North Dorset Council. We had a concession where we could have free car parking four times a year, but nobody knew about that until recently. Now we know about it, we’re going to use it.”
During the free parking days, you won’t need to buy a parking ticket, but the maximum length of stay will still apply and may be enforced by North Dorset’s car parking patrol agents. “It should be pointed out that this isn’t free parking all day,” said David. “If that was offered then the car parks would be full all day. The longest stay car park is four hours.”
“What we want is for shoppers to come into town, so it doesn’t mean you can come in at 8 o’clock and leave at 5 o’clock. We need the car parks to churn. We need people to come, shop and go. You can move around the car parks and it won’t cost you anything. People can come into town, park and not worry about having change.”
Over the last six months, Shaftesbury Chamber of Commerce has been proactive in promoting the town’s unique retail opportunities. The #IndyShaftesbury campaign was one way in which the organisation was able to showcase and promote the range of unique stores in town.
“I think the independent shops are such a big part of Shaftesbury that everything we can do to promote Indy Shaftesbury has got to be better for the whole community,” David said.
The free parking will be available on the 1st, 8th, 15thand 22ndof December. For more information about the Shaftesbury and District Chamber of Commerce search for ‘Shaftesbury Chamber’ on Facebook.